LONDON (AP) - The World Health Organization is reporting that tobacco use kills at least 5 million people every year.
A new study says that number could rise if countries don't take stronger anti-smoking measures. The U.N. agency says most of the
world -- nearly 95 percent of the global population -- isn't covered by laws that ban smoking.
WHO also reports that secondhand smoke kills about 600,000 people every year.
The report describes various strategies to curb smoking around the world. These include enforcing bans on tobacco advertising and raising taxes on tobacco products.
Most of WHO's anti-tobacco efforts are centered on the international Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified by nearly 170 countries in 2003. The convention theoretically obliges countries to take action to reduce tobacco use, though it's unclear if they can be punished for not taking adequate measures, since they can simply withdraw from the treaty.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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