Respiratory groups call for stronger implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on World No Tobacco Day

On World No Tobacco Day, 31 May, The Union alongside members of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) - calls for renewed efforts to strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in all countries, in order to work towards achieving the United Nations (UN) Global Goals for Sustainable Development to ensure a healthy life and promote well-being for all, at all ages.

Tobacco contributes to millions of deaths globally each year, and smoking cigarettes is the main cause of many lung diseases. Approximately half of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) deaths and eight out of ten cases of lung cancer are attributable to current and past smoking, tobacco also fuels the global epidemic of tuberculosis.

The WHO says the speed of action to decrease tobacco demand [and consequent death and disease] is failing to keep up with global and national commitments to reduce the proportion of people that smoke tobacco by 30 percent by 2025, and warns that if current rates continue, the world will only achieve a 22 percent reduction by 2025.

To work towards the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development for further implementation of the WHO FCTC, FIRS calls for stronger efforts to:

  • Increase taxes and prices on tobacco products
  • Implement plain/standardised packaging and/or large graphic health warnings on all tobacco packages
  • Improve public access to free smoking cessation services
  • Enact and enforce comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  • Eliminate exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke in all indoor workplaces and public places, and on public transport
  • Implement effective mass media campaigns that educate the public about the harms of smoking/tobacco use and second-hand smoke

Tackling tobacco is key to reducing morbidity and mortality from lung disease across the world, which is why we must continue combining our efforts to maintain pressure upon policymakers, to educate the public, and to encourage and support smokers to quit.