Dr. Derek YachMBChB, MPH, DSc (Honoris Causa)
Dr. Derek Yach, a global health expert and anti-smoking advocate for more than 30 years, is the president of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. Throughout his career, he has supported and led smoking cessation research and policy development and has been a strong proponent of harm-reduction policies, calling for a greater emphasis on harm reduction as early as 2005. He is also a passionate advocate of health promotion and disease prevention, and is advancing his career’s work at the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.
Dr. Yach is a former World Health Organization (WHO) cabinet director and executive director for noncommunicable diseases and mental health where he was deeply involved with the development of the world’s treaty on tobacco control, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. He is also the former chief health officer of the Vitality Group, executive director of the Vitality Institute, SVP global health and agriculture policy at PepsiCo, director of global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, and a professor of global health at Yale University. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 peer-reviewed articles on global health and has served on several advisory boards, including the World Economic Forum, Cornerstone Capital and the Wellcome Trust. From 2007 to 2016, he served on the program advisory committee of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Dr. Yach is a native of South Africa and has an honorary DSc from Georgetown University, MBChB from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Hons Epi) from the University of Stellenbosch, and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
development of the leading tobacco control framework
While at World Health Organization, Dr. Yach was instrumental in the development of the organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use, sale, distribution and advertisement worldwide. The framework has become the world’s foremost treaty on tobacco control and has been ratified by almost 180 countries, more than 75% of which strengthened existing legislation or adopted new tobacco control policies. Since leaving the World Health Organization in 2004, Dr. Yach has continued to advocate for the improvement of the FCTC. He championed the ban of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in a Huffington Post blog for World No-Tobacco Day, and reflected on the current status and future impact of the FCTC in a 2014 Lancet article.
commitment to smoking harm reduction
Since the FCTC’s development, a range of new reduced-risk alternatives to smoking have been introduced to consumers that separate the nicotine from the tar. Dr. Yach believes these products can promote smoking cessation and reduce the risks of smoking. He has written about this topic extensively, authoring articles appearing in the Financial Times, The Spectator, LinkedIn, National Post and the Huffington Post.
promoting health and preventing disease
Dr. Yach is a passionate advocate for non-communicable disease prevention and health promotion, and is a champion of increased incentives to help people exercise, eat nutritious meals and maintain a healthy weight. He recognizes that creating a smoke-free world will do much to prevent disease, add years to the lives of the global population, improve quality of life and increase economic production. In an article written for the journal Global Heart, he explains the need to create shared value between the public and private sectors, forming an ecosystem that incentivizes innovation in disease prevention – not just disease treatment. He further explained his thinking on health promotion and disease prevention during a presentation at TEDxMonteCarlo.
learn more about dr. yach’s commitment to smoking harm reduction and promoting health and preventing disease.
DR. YACH ADDRESSES TEDxMonteCarlo
popular media and scientific publications
Below is an overview of articles Dr. Yach has written in both popular media and scientific publications on topics related to tobacco control, harm reduction, smoking cessation, disease prevention and health promotion.
selected publications related to dr. yach’s commitment to smoking harm reduction
- Global Heart: "How Can Progress on Global Tobacco Control Inform Progress on NCD?" December 2016
- National Post: "Anti-smoking advocates should embrace e-cigarettes," August 2016
- LinkedIn: "Effective global tobacco control: Time to engage health professionals, listen to smokers, and support harm reduction," February 2016
- Financial Times: "Encourage smokers to shift to reduced-harm products," August 2015
- SAJM: "Turbo-charging tobacco control in South Africa," August 2015
- The Lancet: "A tobacco-free world: a call to action to phase out the sale of tobacco products by 2040," March 2015
- The Spectator: “E-cigarettes save lives,” February 2015
- The Huffington Post: “Enough Distractions: Let’s Address the Real Causes of Diet-Related Diseases,” February 2015
- The Huffington Post: “Changing the Landscape for Prevention and Health Promotion,” January 2015
- The Huffington Post: “A Balanced Review of E-cigs by the American Heart Association,” September 2014
- Globalization and Health: “Research to stop tobacco deaths,” May 2014
- The Lancet: “The origins, development, effects, and future of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: a personal perspective,” January 2014
- The Huffington Post: “Latest Research on Tobacco Use and Health Care Cost Has Global Implications,” October 2013
- The Huffington Post: “Poor Diet, Tobacco Use and Lack of Physical Activity Taking Toll on Nation’s Health,” July 2013
- The Lancet Respiratory Medicine: “Should e-cigarettes be regulated as a medicinal device?” July 2013
- The Huffington Post: “World No-Tobacco Day: Tobacco Use Is on the Rise,” May 2013
- SAMJ: “Looking for the next breakthrough in tobacco control and health,” January 2013
- Global Health: “Enabling access to new WHO essential medicines: the case for nicotine replacement therapies,” November 2010
- Annals of Tropical Medicine & Parasitology: “A century of smoke,” 2006
- Tobacco Control: “Injecting greater urgency into global tobacco control,” 2005
- Journal of Public Health Policy: “The Global Fight for Smoke-Free Public Places,” 2005
- World Health Organization: "Tobacco: science, policy and public health; Tobacco smoke and involuntary smoking," 2005
- The BMJ: "Improving diet and physical activity: 12 lessons from controlling tobacco smoking," April 2005
- JAMA: “The global burden of chronic diseases: overcoming impediments to prevention and control,” June 2004
- Journal of Public Health Policy: "The World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Implications for Global Epidemics of Food-Related Deaths and Disease," 2003
- Thorax: "Tobacco control: from concern for the lung to global political action," April 2001
- Rendezvous: "180 cyberinterviews with tobacco control advocates from all over the world: Derek Yach," February 1999
selected publications related to dr. yach’s commitment to health promotion and disease prevention
- American Journal of Health Promotion: “Preventive Interventions for the Second Half of Life: A Systematic Review,” January 2017
- Global Heart: "The Role of the Private Sector in Tilting Health Systems Toward Chronic Disease Prevention," December 2016
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine: "National Institutes of Health Funding for Behavioral Interventions to Prevent Chronic Diseases," April 2015
- JAMA: "New Opportunities in the Changing Landscape of Prevention," August 2014 The Huffington Post: “Response to ‘Re-Imagining the Doctor’ by Ronald W. Dworkin,” February 2014
- The Huffington Post: “Convergence of Public and Private Sector Goals to Build a Better World: From CSR to Embedding Societal Needs into Business,” October 2011
- Health Affairs: “Technological and social innovation: a unifying new paradigm for global health,” July 2007
- Global Forum for Health Research: “Research needs for chronic disease prevention and control,” 2005