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March 26, 2015

New Tobacco Atlas takes center stage at WCTOH

It has been a huge week for tobacco control, with the World Conference on Tobacco OR Health held in Abu Dhabi.

Anti-tobacco advocates, policy makers, researchers and public health experts from around the world attended the five-day event, which focused on the effects of tobacco and the non-communicable diseases it causes. Left unchecked, tobacco use will kill 1 billion people this century.

A highlight was the launch of the new 5th edition of the Tobacco Atlas with the American Cancer Society. The Atlas is full of stunning infographics displaying the latest statistics on how tobacco affects health, creates poverty and destroys the environment. It is a call to action for advocates from tobacco control and other health and development areas to come together to implement tobacco control strategies: “best buys” for global health.

• Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced winners of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control. Bloomberg and Bill Gates also pledged $4 million for a new legal fund to help low and middle income countries flight long and expensive legal battles against big tobacco companies over stricter smoking laws.Other conference highlights included:

• Vital Strategies and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids held a workshop for conference delegates on how to use social media to launch grass roots campaigns against the tobacco industry through advocacy.

• Vital Strategies also participated in the Youth Pre-Conference workshop, helping to empower young participants to run tobacco control campaigns.

• Vital Strategies experts spoke at symposia and panel discussions on tobacco control communications strategies, mass media campaigns and advocacy in Africa, along with poster discussion sessions.

The conference has called on all countries that are yet to ratify the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to do so before the next WCTOH. See a full list of the conference declarations here.

We look forward to seeing you all at the next WCTOH in Cape Town in 2018!

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