BMC Public Health
Despite substantial positive impacts of Thailand’s tobacco control policies on reducing the prevalence of smoking, current trends suggest that further reductions are needed to ensure that WHO’s 2025 voluntary global target of a 30% relative reduction in tobacco use is met. In order to confirm this hypothesis, we aim to estimate the effect of tobacco control policies in Thailand on the prevalence of smoking and attributed deaths and assess the possibilities of achieving WHO’s 2025 global target. This paper addresses this knowledge gap which will contribute to policy control measures on tobacco control. Results of this study can help guide policy makers in implementing further interventions to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Thailand.
A Markov chain model was developed to examine the effect of tobacco control policies, such as accessibility restrictions for youths, increased tobacco taxes and promotion of smoking cessation programs, from 2015 to 2025. Outcomes included smoking prevalence and the number of smoking-attributable deaths. Due to the very low prevalence of female smokers in 2014, this study applied the model to estimate the smoking prevalence and attributable mortality among males only.
Given that the baseline prevalence of smoking in 2010 was 41.7% in males, the target of a 30% relative reduction requires that the prevalence be reduced to 29.2% by 2025. Under a baseline scenario where smoking initiation and cessation rates among males are attained by 2015, smoking prevalence rates will reduce to 37.8% in 2025. The combined tobacco control policies would further reduce the prevalence to 33.7% in 2025 and 89,600 deaths would be averted.
Current tobacco control policies will substantially reduce the smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable deaths. The combined interventions can reduce the smoking prevalence by 19% relative to the 2010 level. These projected reductions are insufficient to achieve the committed target of a 30% relative reduction in smoking by 2025. Increased efforts to control tobacco use will be essential for reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases in Thailand.