Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Education Need to Know

Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Education Need to Know

pdf (1MB)


Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Education Need to Know

February 5, 2024

Tobacco kills 8.7 million people every year, including up to half its users in addition to non-users exposed to deadly second-hand smoke. The burden of tobacco reaches far beyond health, weakening the economy, disrupting social systems and damaging the environment. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear a greater portion of the global burden, with over 80% of tobacco users living in LMICs. 

Without adequate investment in tobacco control it is estimated that up to 1 billion people could die from tobacco-related diseases during this century alone.

Urgent and whole-of government action is needed to tackle the tobacco burden, calling for a response from all government sectors. This brief is part of a set of 13 provided by UNDP that map out roles and first steps different parts of government can take to help achieve the SDGs by reducing tobacco use.

Ministries of education can take key steps to advance tobacco control and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. This includes adopting and enforcing 100% tobacco-free schools, integrating tobacco control into the school curriculum, ensuring the participation of the ministry in tobacco control multisectoral action plans and coordinating mechanisms, and promoting policy coherence. Ministries of education also stand to benefit from tobacco control –tobacco control helps keep children in school and improves educational outcomes. Money not spent on tobacco and tobacco-related disease can be invested in education and schools, which can have a multiplier effect, benefiting the health, well-being and development of the community at large.