By Betsy Mckay

Feb 8, The Wall Street Journal

Likening the tobacco industry to a "disease vector" such as a virus or bacterium, a report by the World Health Organization called on governments around the world to strengthen the fight against tobacco, and offered them a six-point set of measures for doing so.

Only 5% of the world's population is discouraged from smoking by any antitobacco measure, such as with advertising bans, prominent warning labels on cigarette packs and smoke-free public spaces, despite billions of dollars that governments collect in tobacco-tax revenue, according to the report. Tobacco-tax revenue is more than 500 times higher than spending on tobacco control, it said.

About 5.4 million people in the world annually die prematurely from tobacco-related causes such as cancer, according to the WHO. By 2030, the agency predicts that number will rise to 8.3 million.

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photo: The WHO has launched a campaign to urge governments around the world to do more to discourage people from smoking (AP)