World No Tobacco Day 2021 campaign - Quitters are the real winners.
When the news came out that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers, it triggered millions of smokers to want to quit tobacco. But without adequate support, quitting can be incredibly challenging.
The nicotine found in tobacco is highly addictive and creates dependence. The behavioural and emotional ties to tobacco use – like having a cigarette with your coffee, craving tobacco, feelings of sadness or stress – make it hard to kick the habit.
With professional support and cessation services, tobacco users double their chances of quitting successfully. Currently, over 70% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide lack access to the tools they need to quit successfully. This gap in access to cessation services is only further exacerbated in the last year as the health workforce has been mobilized to handle the pandemic.
That’s why WHO launched a year-long campaign for World No Tobacco Day’s – “Commit to Quit” theme. The campaign aims to empower 100 million tobacco users to make a quit attempt by creating networks of support and increasing access to services proven to help tobacco users quit successfully.
To truly help tobacco users quit, they need to be supported with tried and tested policies and interventions to drive down the demand for tobacco.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) provides a strong, concerted response to the global tobacco epidemic and its enormous health, social, environmental and economic costs. To help countries implement the WHO FCTC, WHO introduced the MPOWER technical package to support implementation of key strategies, such as raising tobacco taxes, creating smoke-free environments and offering help to quit.
Why does the UN prohibit partnerships with the tobacco industry and their front groups?
The tobacco industry is the single greatest barrier to reducing deaths caused by tobacco use. Their interests are irreconcilably opposed to promoting public health, and point to a critical need to keep them out of global tobacco control efforts.
WHO FCTC Article 5.3 aims to do just that. WHO established a firewall in 2007 to protect policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry. The United Nations Global Compact followed suit, banning the tobacco industry from participation in 2017, flagging the problematic and irreconcilable conflicts between the goals of the UN and an industry that is responsible for more than 8 million deaths per year. In line with Article 5.3, industry has been entirely excluded from the UN system and its agencies have been urged to devise strategies to prevent industry interference.
The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs , which has both the WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC as leading participants, has crafted a Model policy for agencies of the United Nations system on preventing tobacco industry interference, a strong policy to prevent industry tactics operating in the UN and then ensured its implementation at the intergovernmental level.
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution for Smoke-free United Nations Premises, and in 2012, the United Nations Economic and Social Council called for “system-wide coherence on tobacco control”. The creation of smoke-free campuses puts into practice the United Nations smoke-free workplace policy, which aims to protect approximately 100,000 UN staff members from second-hand tobacco smoke.
WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC have stated that no partnerships should be forged with tobacco industry front groups such as the Foundation for a Smoke Free World. PMI has committed to spending one billion USD over 12 years funding a new captive organization, the Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW) – Philip Morris International (PMI) is its sole funder – to reproduce and launder its harm-reduction messages.
World No Tobacco Day 2020 : Protecting children and young people from exploitation by the tobacco and related industry.
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