As 2018 ends, let’s take stock of whether we are making real progress in ending smoking. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that there are still more than 1 billion smokers in the world today, and more than 7 million lives are prematurely claimed by smoking-related cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Combustible cigarettes and certain forms of toxic smokeless tobacco products together remain the largest preventable cause of premature deaths globally. The stakes remain unacceptably high.
Market-led solutions, driven by the demand of smokers for reduced-harm products or better ways to quit, have made headlines this year. My favorites are the following:
Some governments have made notable progress; for example, the United Kingdom has greatly improved the regulation of reduced-harm products. However, many international bodies actively shun tobacco harm reduction, which is a key element of overall tobacco control. Below are a few examples of actions against harm reduction.
The highest quit rate attributed to current pharmaceutical cessation treatments after 1 year is <25%. In fact, WHO indicated that pharmacological nicotine-replacement therapy, alone or combined with other prescription cessation medications, increases quit rates by only about 7%. Moreover, the pipeline for new therapies is virtually empty, and no new products are expected within 5-10 years. There surely is room for improvement.
Consumers demand change and a longer and healthier life. Evolving technologies can lower health risks significantly. Governments need to act more forcefully in the interest of smokers; not cower before opposition to harm reduction. Millions of lives are at stake.
As we enter a new year, let’s redouble our efforts to end smoking faster.
Mission is to eliminate smoking worldwide by supporting cessation & harm reduction #research, and transitioning tobacco #farmers to alternative livelihoods.
Without alternatives provided, smoking rates in #SouthAfrica remain stubbornly high compared to other regions. Hear more about the #StateOfSmoking and the struggles of smokers here: http://bit.ly/2BROMqS
Best-selling author @wkamkwamba, participated in a fireside chat at our Second Annual #ATISummit2019. President Derek Yach said, "Most powerful line by William was: 'Talent is universal, opportunity is not.' Our joint challenge is simply to expand opportunities."
At today's #AgTechChallenge, 33 next-generation inventors from #Malawi presented prototypes for solutions to challenges facing smallholder farmers. Renowned author @wkamkwamba and our president Derek Yach were two of the judges evaluating the competition. #ATISummit2019
Tomorrow at the #ATISummit2019 in #Malawi the role of inclusive science, technology, and innovation in driving agricultural transformation will be explored. We look forward to another engaging event. http://bit.ly/2NMqwMa
Tomorrow we kick off the second annual #ATISummit2019 where thought leaders from international delegations, local government and private & farming sectors will convene as part of the ATI’s commitment to economic diversification in #Malawi. To learn more: http://bit.ly/2OamVYm
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