Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, Dec.5
By Huseyn Hasanov- Trend:
Encouraged by the benefits of reduced tobacco consumption, the 53 Member States in the WHO European Region pledged to accelerate their efforts to fully implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) by signing the Ashgabat Declaration during the WHO Ministerial Conference on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in the Context of Health 2020, held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on 3-4 December 2013, according to the WHO press-release.
Until now, tobacco-control activity has focused on taxation, pricing and demand reduction by providing smoking-cessation support, adding warnings on cigarette packs and reducing the number of places where tobacco can legally be used," the WHO said.
The next step will address supply as well as demand, aiming for a fundamental denormalization of the use of tobacco.
Three countries are leading the way towards a tobacco-free Europe by announcing deadlines for reducing tobacco use to less than five percent of the population: 2025 for Ireland, 2034 for the United Kingdom (Scotland) and 2040 for Finland (through annual reductions of 10 percent).
The Conference brought together policy-makers from WHO's European Member States to consider measures for tobacco control that could be used to reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and other noncommunicable diseases, the WHO said.
The European Region is a long way from full implementation of the FCTC. This creates loopholes that the tobacco industry can exploit. Although some countries have achieved historic lows in smoking prevalence, some 28 percent of European adults still smoke: the highest proportion among all WHO regions," the organization said.
Various measures have proved to be extremely effective in lowering consumption: increasing prices of and taxes on tobacco products; introducing strong health warnings, including pictorial warnings on cigarette packs; banning marketing and sponsorship; and banning tobacco use in public places.
The WHO believes that tobacco control in Europe is important for the following reasons: tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death and disease; 16 percent of all deaths (about 1.6 million each year) are attributable to tobacco; about 180 people per hour die from tobacco-related causes; although only 14 percent of the world's population lives in Europe, the Region accounts for a disproportionate share of global tobacco-related deaths: more than 1 in 4; and a comprehensive set of tobacco-control measures can successfully fight tobacco.