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The Eastern Mediterranean Region has high rates of tobacco use, with 32% of adults over 15 and 36% of youth aged 13-15 using tobacco. Use of tobacco is rising among youth. Waterpipe use remains widespread in the region, but instead of being used mainly by men and the elderly as it was in the past, it is increasingly popular among young people of both sexes. Among those aged 13-15, boys and girls smoke waterpipes at rates of 39% and 31%, respectively, in some EMRO countries. Nearly one-quarter of university students use waterpipes. If trends continue, some countries will have declining cigarette smoking rates and increasing waterpipe smoking rates.

The leading causes of premature deaths in the region—heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lung disease—are all tobacco related. These non-communicable diseases cause 57% of total mortality.

Currently, 19 out of 21 EMRO countries are party to the WHO FCTC.

World Health Organization. Summary report on the Expert workshop to prepare a new edition of the WHO advisory note on waterpipe tobacco smoking. Cairo: WHO, 2014.

World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean. 2015. Save lives: Recommit to implementing WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. [Online] [Accessed March 2015]. Available from: http://www.emro.who.int/tobacco/tfi-news/10-years-fctc.html

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The Tobacco Control Department is based at The Union Europe Office, Edinburgh, registered charity no. SC039880
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