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A New International Commission of Experts Finds the Global Fight Against Smoking Has Stalled

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LONDON, Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Global efforts to end smoking have stalled and require a drastic overhaul to prevent one billion people from dying in this century, according to a new report by five leading experts, members of the International Commission to Reignite the Fight Against Smoking.

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Worldwide, an estimated 1.14 billion people use tobacco. Nearly 8 million die each year of tobacco-related causes. Since the creation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) treaty 18 years ago, tobacco demand has declined, but far too slowly and, in some low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), not at all.

The Commission was established to recommend a set of actions to accelerate an end to adult smoking and other toxic tobacco use. Chaired by Ambassador (ret.) James K. Glassman, former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Commission includes representatives from India, Indonesia, South Africa, and the UK.

A major focus of the report is the failure of governments and international organizations to address the special needs of developing countries, as well as the needs of marginalized communities within higher-income countries.

The report notes that if current trends continue, the number of deaths from cigarettes and other harmful forms of tobacco will grow from 100 million tobacco-related deaths in the 20th century to a heart-breaking one billion tobacco-related deaths in the 21st century.

It also outlines the economic toll of tobacco as equally striking, already costing an estimated 6% of all global health expenditures annually – roughly half a trillion dollars –- and only set to grow.

There are 19 recommendations in the report, including: expanding access to tobacco harm reduction in LMICs and for all tobacco companies to develop a plan to phase out high-risk combustible products.

Commissioner Ambassador (ret.) James K. Glassman said:

"Smoking is the biggest public health challenge in the world today. We need boldness, imagination, and a recognition that consumer preferences and new technology are the forces that will drive the change that is needed.

"We now have the most powerful cessation tool in history at our disposal: technology that delivers nicotine without the dangers to health caused by the combustion of tobacco. Public Health England found that e-cigarettes were 95% less harmful than combustible cigarettes. We must not ignore that. By tying the best science to intelligent public policy, the scourge of smoking can be eliminated."

The report can be found here: https://www.fightagainstsmoking.org/

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1633280/Total_Number_of_Tobacco_Users_Per_Country_Infographic.jpg

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