Saturday, March 14, 2015

Scientists Call for Tobacco-Free World By 2040

A good idea...

Leading public health researchers call for the sale of tobacco to be phased out by 2040, showing that with sufficient political support and stronger evidence-based action against the tobacco industry, a tobacco-free world — where less than 5% of adults use tobacco — could be possible in less than three decades, Science Daily reports.

Writing in a major new Series in The Lancet, an international group of health and policy experts, led by Professors Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, call on the United Nations (UN) to lead a “turbo-charged” effort against the sale and consumption of tobacco.

The Series will be launched in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the 2015 World Conference on Tobacco or Health, the world’s largest gathering of tobacco control advocates, policy makers, researchers, public health and clinical experts.

One billion deaths from smoking and other forms of tobacco use are expected by the end of this century if efforts to tackle tobacco use are not accelerated. More than 80% of these deaths will be in low- and middle-income countries, whose populations will be most severely affected by the devastating economic and social burden of tobacco illness caused by tobacco in coming decades.

According to Professor Beaglehole, “The time has come for the world to acknowledge the unacceptability of the damage being done by the tobacco industry and work towards a world essentially free from the legal and illegal sale of tobacco products. A world where tobacco is out of sight, out of mind, and out of fashion — yet not prohibited — is achievable in less than three decades from now, but only with full commitment from governments, international agencies, such as UN and WHO, and civil society.”

A decade on from WHO’s landmark introduction of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), only 15% of the world’s population have adequate access to smoking cessation programmes. Moreover, less than one in ten people worldwide are covered by tobacco taxation at levels recommended by the FCTC, despite research showing that increasing the cost of tobacco to the consumer through taxation is one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption. In the same period, 50 million deaths have been caused by tobacco, indicating that the FCTC alone is insufficient to achieve substantive reductions in the use of tobacco.

In a new research Article, published in The Lancet to accompany the Series, Professor Kenji Shibuya from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues show that although overall rates of smoking are slowly declining, the prevalence of tobacco usage is actually expected to increase in some countries over the next decade, notably in Africa and the Middle East. And because the world’s population is rising, there will still be more than one billion smokers in 2025, unless global action against tobacco accelerates markedly.

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