accelerating an end to smoking: derek yach reflects on fifteen years of progress under who's framework convention for tobacco control, and what’s next
Fifteen years ago, this month, the final negotiating meeting for the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) ended in Geneva, ushering in a new era of global, coordinated efforts to tackle a major global health threat. Four million people died that year (2003) from tobacco-related diseases.
Progress led by WHO under the Framework has been substantial. Many countries have increased taxes on tobacco products, banned tobacco advertising and put in place comprehensive monitoring systems. Prevalence has gone down in many countries.
The size of the challenge remains immense, however. There are still a billion smokers in the world and more than 7 million die annually, mainly from combusted cigarettes. We are on target to record a billion deaths this century.
The work of the FCTC remains the bedrock upon which progress depends. However, exceptional additional means and new players are needed to complement what is underway if we are to accelerate an end to smoking over the next 15 years.