Onlinedesk | 01 June 2018 | 3:30 pm
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has called on governments to stand up to the tobacco industry and fully implement ‘proven’ strategies that protect their citizens from the devastating harms of tobacco use to save lives.
The leading anti-tobacco group made the call in a statement issued on World No Tobacco Day on Thursday.
“Around the world, we have seen that when countries implement these proven measures, they can quickly and significantly reduce tobacco use,” Matthew L Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in the statement.
He said a number of countries, including India, Ukraine, and Uruguay reported ‘significant’ declines in tobacco use last year after implementing strong policies, which included tobacco tax increases, comprehensive smoke-free laws, large pictorial warning labels on tobacco products and tobacco advertising bans.
“These cost-effective measures work everywhere they are implemented – and should be adopted by every country,” Myers said and added, “World No Tobacco Day is a reminder of the horrific toll of tobacco around the world and the need for every country to take strong and effective action.”
This year, World No Tobacco Day has focussed attention on how tobacco use is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions.
Tobacco use is the only risk factor shared by all four main categories of non-communicable diseases – heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.
“We cannot win the fight against these global health challenges without winning the fight against tobacco,” the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids chief said.
Tobacco use kills 7 million people worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. “It will kill one billion people this century unless governments act now to prevent it,” Myers said.
Globally, tobacco companies like Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco ‘remain the main obstacle’ to greater progress in reducing tobacco use, the Campaign said in the statement.
“These companies aggressively market their deadly products – often targeting kids – and fight life-saving strategies, suing governments and leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to defeat, delay and weaken the policies called for by the WHO FCTC,” it said.
“Strong and persistent government action is needed to protect future generations from the devastating consequences of tobacco use. By implementing the proven measures called for by the WHO FCTC and standing up to the tobacco industry, governments can win this fight and save countless lives,” it added.