WHO issues new guidelines to help adults quit tobacco

Over 750 million tobacco users worldwide could benefit from WHO’s new cessation guidelines.

​ News Desk July 03, 2024

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its first-ever comprehensive guidelines aimed at assisting adults in quitting tobacco. These guidelines include behavioural support from healthcare providers, digital cessation interventions, and pharmacological treatments.

With over 750 million tobacco users worldwide expressing a desire to quit, the WHO’s recommendations cover various tobacco products, including cigarettes, waterpipes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and heated tobacco products (HTPs).

Despite more than 60% of the world’s 1.25 billion tobacco users wanting to quit, around 70% lack access to effective cessation services due to resource limitations in health systems.

The guidelines aim to support communities and governments in providing optimal assistance for those on this challenging journey.

The WHO recommends combining pharmacotherapy with behavioural interventions to significantly increase the chances of quitting successfully. The suggested pharmacological treatments include varenicline, Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), bupropion, and cytisine. Countries are encouraged to offer these treatments at low or no cost to improve accessibility, particularly in low- and middle-income nations.

In 2023, WHO began a prequalification procedure for medicinal products targeting disorders caused by tobacco use. By April 2024, Kenvue’s nicotine gum and patch became the first WHO-prequalified NRT products.

The WHO also recommends brief counselling sessions from health workers, more intensive behavioural support, and digital interventions like text messaging, smartphone apps, and internet programs as effective cessation tools.

The WHO urges healthcare providers, policymakers, and stakeholders to adopt and implement these guidelines to promote tobacco cessation and enhance the health of millions worldwide. This initiative aims to fill the gap in cessation services and support the global effort to reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ