Australia has been named as a ‘best practice’ country when it comes to smoking laws.

About 5 billion people today live with some form of smoking ban or graphic warnings on packaging, but a new World Health Organization (WHO) report shows many countries are still not adequately implementing policies, including helping people quit tobacco, that can save lives.

The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2019 labels Australia and New Zealand ‘best practice’ countries due to their pioneering of initiatives like plain packaging.

Progress is being made, with 2.4 billion people living in countries now providing comprehensive cessation services (2 billion more than in 2007). However, only 23 countries are providing cessation services at the best-practice level.

Although tobacco use has declined proportionately in most countries, population growth means the number of smokers remains high - though 80 per cent of them live in low- and middle-income countries.

Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries  and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, said the report shows government-led efforts to help people quit tobacco work when properly implemented.

“More countries are making tobacco control a priority and saving lives, but there’s still much more work to be done,” said Mr Bloomberg.

“The WHO’s new report shines a spotlight on global efforts to help people quit using tobacco and it details some of our most important gains.”

The full report is accessible here.