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.
In two years, the introduction of harm reduction products in #Japan has had a greater impact on smokers than over the last 30 years. Watch the video to learn about the current state of #smokingcessation and #harmreduction. http://bit.ly/2WiQkDs
Writing in @TheLancet, FSFW Data Analyst Yuchen Xue notes an oversight in the journal's account of occupational hazards in #China, namely, smoking in the workplace. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2UQRtDD
Derek Yach spoke at the @ForumAurora in #Armenia, where he noted, “I believe that in the next 10-15 years we will end up seeing lung cancer being managed like a chronic disease and no longer being a death sentence like it is today.” #CancerPreventionMonth http://bit.ly/39l7GVL
Life and health insurers are yet another group affected by smoking worldwide. Discover how insurance sectors have a unique opportunity to help end smoking globally and #AccelerateTransformation. http://bit.ly/38RKZrK
In addition to the falling prices of unmanufactured tobacco, smallholder farmers in #Malawi face another adversity: environmental degradation. Social anthropologist @axelklein2 probes into issues facing #AlternativeLivelihoods in a new blog piece: http://bit.ly/38mkBq5
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