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Press Room

Calls for Increased Funding of Cancer Prevention Through Tobacco Control

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, NY) – World Lung Foundation today called on health care providers and governments to do more to prevent cancer, in terms of activity and spend. While important breakthroughs are being made in cancer diagnosis and treatment, low-cost prevention strategies like effective tobacco control legislation can be undertaken now in order to save lives and money. Such strategies would most benefit people in the world’s poorest countries, where the incidence of cancer is rising and where most of the world’s tobacco users reside.

Cancer has the greatest economic impact from premature death and disability of all causes of death worldwide. A 2010 report from American Cancer Society and LIVESTRONG® estimated the global economic cost of cancer at $895 billion, excluding direct medical costs. The biggest drain was found to be cancers of the lung, bronchus and trachea, which accounted for nearly $180 billion. Tobacco use is a major cause of all these cancers.

Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer of World Lung Foundation commented: “Governments around the world can do one simple thing to reduce the deadly toll of cancer – and that is protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco. And while tobacco kills millions of smokers every year, tobacco-related lung cancers also kill hundreds of thousands of non-smokers who have been exposed to secondhand smoke.

“It is perfectly possible to prevent these millions of cancer deaths by establishing 100% smoke-free laws, raising the price of cigarettes and conducting effective public education campaigns. It costs very little to inform people on how they can make healthy choices and it costs even less to enact legislation to support those choices. There isn’t a magic bullet to cure all forms of cancer, but we have the opportunity and the obligation to protect people from developing cancer wherever possible.”