Tobacco control

Tobacco kills eight million people each year, including 65,000 children who die from diseases related to second-hand smoke. The COVID-19 pandemic brings new urgency to reducing tobacco use, and the rise of new nicotine and tobacco products such as e-cigarettes presents new challenges and complexities in the fight against tobacco. Big tobacco is gaining control of this global market and re-branding itself as part of the solution to the tobacco epidemic, while continuing to aggressively market its traditional tobacco products around the world.

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Tobacco control

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Tobacco Control

What we do

The Union is a global leader in the fight against tobacco use.

The Union centres its tobacco control work around the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) - an international health treaty - and a package of evidence-based measures proven to reduce tobacco use called MPOWER. Our work has spanned over 50 countries, impacting two-thirds of the world’s smokers. We focus on low- and middle-income countries, where 80 percent of tobacco deaths occur. 

Our priority areas of work

The most effective way to reduce tobacco use is through the implementation of comprehensive tobacco control policies that are proven to tackle both supply and demand, like those set-out in the WHO FCTC and MPOWER package of tobacco reduction measures. The Union's work focuses on the priority areas below.

Explore the Implementation Hub

The Tobacco Control Implementation Hub is a one-stop shop for tobacco control policy implementation and enforcement resources.

The Implementation Hub has moved. Find it at:

Our projects

The Union co-manages the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use Grants Program, which awards funds to projects delivering high-impact tobacco control interventions in low- and middle-income countries. In 2019 The Union launched the Global Implementation Programme, which supports cities to effectively implement tobacco control laws, and we are a key partner in STOP, a global tobacco industry watchdog. Both projects are also funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Where we work

Many low- and middle-income countries, where 80 percent of tobacco-related deaths occur, are faced with rising affordability of tobacco products as well as an aggressive tobacco industry that targets both consumers and governments – so rates of tobacco use continue to rise. The Union has supported over 50 countries worldwide to implement tobacco control policies, impacting billions of people.

2022 Tobacco Control Factsheets

The Union’s Tobacco Control Department has produced five factsheets on critical aspects of tobacco control: COVID-19 and Tobacco; E-cigarettes, Heated Tobacco Products, and the Need for Bans in LMICs; Tobacco Control Implementation and Enforcement; Novel Products, Young People, and Policy; and Tobacco Vendor Licensing. These factsheets offer a deep dive into specific topics, summarizing evidence, defining key terms, and providing practical guidance and evidence-based recommendations.


During the COVID-19 pandemic The Union has produced resources and guidance on the interaction between tobacco and the virus.

Our impact


people in 37 countries through smokefree laws


people in 28 countries through higher tobacco tax


people in 32 countries through graphic health warnings


people in 30 countries where tobacco industry interference in government now faces restrictions



people in 28 countries through advertising bans

Members in action


As part of the Tobacco Control Section, Union members work closely to organise webinars on varied tobacco control topics of interest to international audience, and assist tobacco control implementers and advocates with policy making in their countries, and contribute to the scientific programme of The Union World Lung Conference.