Fight against smoking being sabotaged by tobacco industry: WHO

Dr. Takeshi Kasai, chief representative of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Vietnam, has called for more public awareness and Government support in resisting the tobacco industry's increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine laws that protect people from the harms of tobacco addiction.

Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the newly appointed WHO’s Representative to Viet Nam, calls for more public awareness and Government support in resisting the tobacco industry's increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine laws that protect people from the harms of tobacco addiction

Dr. Kasai was speaking on the occasion of “World No-Tobacco Day 2012” on May 31.

Tobacco addiction is one of the leading but preventable causes of death in the world. Global tobacco addiction kills nearly six million people every year.

In Vietnam alone, each year tobacco is the cause of premature deaths of an estimated 40,000 people; and in the absence of effective measures to reduce tobacco intake, the figure is anticipated to reach 70,000 by 2030.

In addition to the large population of active smokers, up to two-thirds of non-smokers, majority of who are women and children, are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke at home, at work and in public places and suffer as passive smokers.

As more and more countries move towards fully meeting obligations laid out under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the tobacco industry's efforts to undermine the treaty are becoming increasingly desperate.

These include attempts to delay or weaken regulations on pictorial health warnings, on public smoking bans and on eliminating tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships.

In addition to undermining public health law, the tobacco industry is also engaging in so-called corporate social responsibility activities designed to enhance its public image, and make people forget or overlook the fact that tobacco causes widespread harm to human health, resulting in immense suffering and even death.

On ‘World No-Tobacco Day’, the World Health Organization will continue to focus on its constant effort to inform policy-makers and the general public about the tobacco industry's nefarious and harmful interference with WHO FCTC.

By K. Nguyen - Translated by Uyen Phuong

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