Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Michael R. Bloomberg to participate in WCTOH

The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, 7-9 March 2018, announced today the participation of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, South Africa Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and Michael R. Bloomberg, a leading actor on tobacco control and the WHO Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs).

WCTOH is the world’s premier forum on tobacco control and is expected to attract some 3000 researchers, scientists, civil society, healthcare professionals, policymakers and media representatives from more than 100 countries.

“This conference is being held at a critical time, both in the war on tobacco and the drive to protect public health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Countries have stepped up action to beat back the tobacco epidemic. But more is needed. By embracing the Sustainable Development Goals, governments have committed to promoting healthier and stronger futures for their citizens. Tobacco control offers one of the surest ways to achieve such ambitions.”

The conference is being held on the African continent for the first time, with the theme Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free Generation focused on expediting progress to reduce tobacco use in all populations around the world – using new research and innovative approaches in public health, as well as powerful but under-used policies, including tobacco taxation and those aimed at preventing industry interference.

Michael Bloomberg will preside over the Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control during WCTOH. The awards recognise leading organisations in low and middle-income countries doing best in class work on the most effective tobacco control policies, collectively known as MPOWER measures:

  • Monitoring of tobacco use and prevention policies
  • Protecting people from tobacco smoke
  • Offering help to quit tobacco use
  • Warning about the dangers of tobacco
  • Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Raising taxes on tobacco

Dr Flavia Senkubuge, President of WCTOH 2018 and a Specialist in Public Health Medicine at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa said:

“The developing world continues to be the most urgent battleground for those working in tobacco control and we are delighted to have the commitment of three such prominent public health champions at the first WCTOH conference to be held in the Africa region.”

Professor Harry Lando, Chair of the 17th WCTOH organising committee said: “We are confident that the high quality of the science being presented in Cape Town will complement the advocacy around WCTOH – we need both if we are to make bigger strides in tobacco control, especially in this part of the world.”

Some of the scientific highlights being featured at WCTOH include a novel study around HIV and smoking in South Africa, e-cigarette use and young people and the impact of tobacco taxation and point of sale changes on consumers.

Explore the conference programme online

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The complete scientific programme will be announced in early January 2018.

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