Preventing a Billion Deaths from Tobacco Use
An international gathering was recently held at Harvard University, which came out with key recommendations on preventing a projected billion deaths by the end of the 21st century due to tobacco smoking. Attendees of the gathering included public health officials and advocates from more than 40 countries as well as international organizations such as the European Union (EU), African Union (AU), World Trade Union (WTU) and WHO (World Health Organization).
It was agreed that the United Nations and other development agencies worldwide should make tobacco control as part of their agendas. Trade treaty that includes tobacco should place health as the prime focus of any decision. One goal is to end the use of tobacco by 2048 by working diligently to reduce the worldwide prevalence rate of smoking to less than 5%. They also assure that all sectors of a nation along with health, finance and trade officials will work collectively on health protection including the threat of tobacco on the country’s economy by passing laws to reduce the use of tobacco.
Representatives from nations present in the gathering have shown unity in passing tough national laws based on the WHO FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control). In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has banned smoking in all public places, restricted sale of cigarettes, and banned advertisement and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies. Australian Supreme Court recently upheld law on plain packaging of cigarettes. Uruguay’s effective adoption of comprehensive tobacco control measures recommended by WHO was shown by data on the sharp decline in smoking. The Philippines presented data on its successful efforts to increase levy on tobacco products despite aggressive opposition from multinational tobacco companies. EU’s new proposed directive will allow EU nations to implement plain packaging, smoke-free public places, high taxation and proven measures.
Harvard University. A billion deaths from tobacco are a key obstacle to global development. ScienceDaily.