Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Smoking-related deaths averted due to three years of policy progress

David T Levy, Jennifer A Ellis, Darren Mays & An-Tsun Huang


To evaluate the global impact of adopting highest-level MPOWER tobacco control policies in different countries and territories from 2007 to 2010.


Policy effect sizes based on previously-validated SimSmoke models were applied to determine the reduction in the number of smokers as a result of policy adoption during this period. Based on previous research suggesting that half of all smokers die from smoking, we also derived the estimated smoking-attributable deaths (SADs) averted due to MPOWER policy implementation. The results from use of this simple yet powerful method are consistent with those predicted by using previously validated SimSmoke models.


In total, 41 countries adopted at least one highest-level MPOWER policy between 2007 and 2010. As a result of all policies adopted during this period, the number of smokers is estimated to have dropped by 14.8 million, with a total of 7.4 million SADs averted. The largest number of SADs was averted as a result of increased cigarette taxes (3.5 million), smoke-free air laws (2.5 million), health warnings (700 000), cessation treatments (380 000), and bans on tobacco marketing (306 000).


From 2007 to 2010, 41 countries and territories took action that will collectively prevent nearly 7.5 million smoking-related deaths globally. These findings demonstrate the magnitude of the actions already taken by countries and underscore the potential for millions of additional lives to be saved with continued adoption of MPOWER policies.