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New Report on Tackling the Global Crisis of Non-Communicable Diseases

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

(New York, United States) – World Lung Foundation has welcomed the release of a new research paper published in The Lancet. The paper, “Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis”, examines the most feasible and cost-effective strategies that can be used to reduce the burden of death and illness caused by the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease. Collectively, these diseases cause two-thirds of all deaths worldwide and the burden they exert is growing – with the most rapid rate of growth in low and middle income countries.

The team of experts behind the paper – the Lancet NCD Action Group – identified tobacco control as the single most important strategy for reducing the burden of NCDs, noting that “Tobacco use alone accounts for one in six of all deaths resulting from NCDS.” Every day more than 1 billion people smoke or chew tobaccoand about 15,000 die from tobacco-related diseases.

Prof. Judith Mackay, co-author of the paper and Senior Advisor, World Lung Foundation, commented:“We in the Lancet NCD Action Group concluded that tobacco control is the most urgent and immediate priority for curbing NCD deaths. Accelerating the implementation of the World Health Organization’s global treaty on tobacco control and the set of six “MPOWER” policy measures to reduce tobacco use, would prevent at least 5.5million premature deaths over ten years in the 23 countries that account for 80 percent of the chronic disease burden in the developing world.”

Dr Mackay continued:“Governments need to be more active in warning consumers about the risks of tobacco use. Most could do more to raise taxes on tobacco, implement smoke free policies that protect smokers and non-smokers alike and restrict tobacco industry marketing. In countries like China and India, where the number of deaths from NCDs is increasing rapidly, such measures may cost as little as 15 US cents per person per year.At World Lung Foundation, we will continue to work closely with our valued partners in the NCD Alliance over the coming weeks and months to encourage ministerial buy-in and action in order to reduce the terrible and preventable burden of non-communicable diseases.”

“Priority actions for the non-communicable disease crisis” was prepared by a global alliance between leading scientists and four major international NGOs – International Diabetes Federation, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Union for International Cancer Control, and the World Heart Federation – and brings together evidence from a five-year collaboration with almost 100 of the world's best NCD experts. An abstract is available at

About The NCD Alliance

The NCD Alliance is made up of four key international NGOs—the International Diabetes federation, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Union for International Cancer Control, and the World Heart Federation—representing 880 member associations in 170 countries. As such, The Alliance represents the four main NCDs outlined in the World Health Organization’s 2008-2013 Action Plan for NCDs – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. These conditions share common risk factors (including tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets) and also share common solutions, which provide a mutual platform for collaboration and joint advocacy.

The NCD Alliance uses targeted advocacy and outreach to ensure that NCDs are recognized as a major cause of poverty, a barrier to economic development and a global emergency. This is done by working with a wide range of partners and organizations, speaking with a united voice at key international meetings, and pressing governments to recognize that NCDs are a global development priority requiring an urgent response.