Golbal Solutions for a Global Tobacco Epidemic
We need international political will to stop the tobacco epidemic that kills more than 15,000 people each day. Global recognition of the threat of tobacco, and support for the powerful solutions at hand, is an essential ingredient to our success.
2012 presents two major opportunities, and challenges, to the addressing the tobacco epidemic: the follow-up to the 2011 United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20). These international agreements have the potential to rally support, resources and focus to the danger that tobacco poses to global health and wellness, or, if left unaddressed in these fora, global progress against tobacco could become less of a priority internationally.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are widely recognized as the emerging public health challenge of the 21st century - particularly cancer, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes - and a global threat to development. As a leading risk factor for all four top NCDs, and the #1 preventable global killer, tobacco use should be a top priority in any development agenda.
Happily, we have solutions to offer. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control(FCTC), signed by more than 170 countries, obligates countries to enact measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The UN Summit on NCDs and Rio+20 don't have to reinvent the wheel to achieve their own outcomes - they can support significant progress in global health by re-articulating a strong political commitment to the FCTC and identifying resources to support its implementation.
In June 2012, world leaders will meet in Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, a process that may end in a new defining set of principles for global development: the Sustainable Development Goals. The stated objective of the Conference is to "secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges," and importantly Rio+20 is being touted as a new development framework that will help define a long-term process and goals after 2015. With a wide-ranging agenda, from sustainable energy to green economy and poverty eradication, the challenge is to convince governments that addressing health and wellness is critical to creating a achievable sustainable development outcomes.
UN Summit on NCDs follow up
By all accounts, the 2011 UN Summit on NCDs, which examined the growing threat of NCDs and confirmed the international community's commitment to address them, was a success. Tobacco control advocates, particularly, successfully advocated for language to support accelerated implementation of the FCTC and language identifying that tobacco taxation are a logical way to both fund NCD control and reduce tobacco use.
However, advocates have follow up work to do. Perhaps most important is the creation of targets for reducing NCDs and their drivers.
15000aDay.org was developed with the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.