(CNS): The World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2010, is a critical point in the 2010: Year of the Lung campaign, according to the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). Studies show that 50% of all deaths from lung disease are linked to tobacco use. “Strengthening tobacco control is the single most important action we can take to improve global lung health,” said Dr Nils E Billo, Executive Director of The Union and chair of the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), which is sponsoring the Year of the Lung. “Tobacco is a leading cause of preventable death and kills 5 million men, women and children each year.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if tobacco control is not improved, the death rate will increase from 5 million to 8 million by 2030, and 520 million people will die from tobacco use in the next 50 years.
The Union has been active in tobacco control for 25 years, providing technical assistance, education and research to countries seeking to pass and implement smokefree legislation, develop smokefree policies, train health care professionals in smoking cessation techniques and build public awareness of the health consequences of tobacco use. Since 2007, The Union has also been a partner in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, a US$ 375 million initiative funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
- Through its regional offices in Europe, Latin America, South‐East Asia, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific, The Union is working with governments in 14 of the world’s top tobacco‐using countries to develop stronger tobacco control laws.
- As co‐manager of the Bloomberg Initiative grants programme (with the US‐based Campaign for Tobacco‐Free Kids), The Union has given grants to 73 tobacco control organisations and governments in 27 countries to develop tobacco control interventions since 2007.
- A series of technical and management courses designed specifically to build the capacity of tobacco control organisations has been offered in 14 countries since 2007.
- A wide range of resources for tobacco control advocates is now available for free through The Union’s websitewww.tobaccofreeunion.org. These include technical guides for establishing smokefree health care facilities, schools and sporting events; case studies of smokefree cities; economic reports; fact sheets and other information.
The WHO theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day is “Gender and Tobacco: with an emphasis on marketing to women”. (CNS)