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Press Room

Most Governments Fail to Protect Their Citizens from Tobacco Harms

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 (WLF) released the following statement on the release of the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009:

“The WHO report demonstrates clearly that most governments have failed to address tobacco as a public health crisis,” said Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer, WLF. “9 out of 10 people remain uncovered by protective tobacco control policies. This is unacceptable given the irrefutable toll tobacco takes on health. It is all the more shocking since 168 out of 195 countries in the world have committed to reverse the tobacco epidemic through signing a global treaty, the Framework Convention to Reduce Tobacco Use.

WHO's MPOWER package of policies provides a clear roadmap for governments to meet their obligations. MPOWER advises governments to monitor tobacco use, protect people from second-hand smoke, offer smokers help to quit, warn people against the harms of tobacco, enforce bans on all forms of advertising and raise tobacco taxes. Failure to do so is a breach of commitment to the international community and to citizens themselves,” Mr. Baldini added.

The Report, released at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, emphasized the critical importance of smoke-free laws, which reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. Turkey is one of seven countries, including Colombia, Djibouti, Guatemala, Mauritius, Panama and Zambia that, since the report data was collected, have implemented comprehensive smoke-free laws. Just over 5% of people are now covered by such legislation, up from approximately 3% in 2008.