2. After high blood pressure, tobacco use is the biggest contributor to the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases — such as heart attack, stroke, cancer and emphysema — which accounts for 63% of deaths.
3. Smokers are more susceptible to certain communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis and pneumonia.
4. No consumer product kills as many people and as needlessly as does tobacco. It killed 100 million people in the 20th century. Unless we act, it could kill up to 1 billion people in the 21st. All of these deaths will have been entirely preventable.
The poor are the most harmed
Tobacco use is growing fastest in low- and middle-income countries, owing to steady population growth and tobacco industry targeting. By 2030, more than 80% of the world’s tobacco-related deaths will be in these countries.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the world’s foremost tobacco control instrument. The first treaty ever negotiated under the auspices of WHO, it represents a signal achievement in the advancement of public health. In force only since 2005, it is already one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations, with more than 170 Parties. An evidence-based treaty, it reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and provides new legal dimensions for cooperation in tobacco control.
World No Tobacco Day 2011 will be designed to highlight the treaty’s overall importance, to stress Parties’ obligations under the treaty and to promote the essential role of the Conference of the Parties and WHO in supporting countries’ efforts to meet those obligations. The Conference of the Parties is the treaty’s central organ and governing body.
The world needs the WHO FCTC as much as, if not more than, it did in 1996 when the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an international framework convention on tobacco control. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death. This year, more than 5 million people will die from a tobacco-related heart attack, stroke, cancer, lung ailment or other disease. That does not include the more than 600,000 people – more than a quarter of them children – who will die from exposure to second-hand smoke. The annual death toll from the global epidemic of tobacco use could rise to 8 million by 2030. Having killed 100 million people during the 20th century, tobacco use could kill 1 billion during the 21st century.
As with any other treaty, the WHO FCTC confers legal obligations on its Parties – that is, on the countries (and the European Union) that have formally acceded to it. Among these obligations are those to: