New Tobacco Atlas Details Scale and Harm of the Tobacco Epidemic


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John R. Seffrin, PhD

Whether it’s the link between tobacco and increasing rates of lung cancer among women, or the ever-increasing number of health conditions and deaths related to tobacco use, the health and economic case for reducing tobacco use has never been clearer.

—John R. Seffrin, PhD

The Tobacco Atlas, fifth edition, its companion mobile app, and website TobaccoAtlas.org, were released by the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation at the 16th World Conference on Tobacco or Health held March 17–21, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Atlas details the scale of the tobacco epidemic. It covers the harmful influence of tobacco on health, poverty, social justice, and the environment; the progress being made in tobacco control; and the latest products and tactics being used by the industry to protect its profits and delay and derail tobacco control.

For Every Tobacco-Related Death, a $7,000 Profit

Among the top six transnational tobacco companies—accounting for 85% of all cigarettes smoked globally— profits have reached $44.1 billion, or around $7,000 for every tobacco-related death.

Tobacco use costs the global economy over $1 trillion, according to The ­Atlas. Low- and middle-income countries represent over 80% of tobacco users and tobacco-related deaths.

Without change, governments around the world will miss targets to improve health and opportunities to reduce the harm of tobacco.

The Atlas authors conclude that bolder, faster action is needed to reduce tobacco use.

Tobacco Industry Urged to ‘Tell the Truth’

“Whether it’s the link between tobacco and increasing rates of lung cancer among women, or the ever-increasing number of health conditions and deaths related to tobacco use, the health and economic case for reducing tobacco use has never been clearer,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society. “We encourage public health advocates, governments, economists, educators, and the media to  tell people the truth—how a cohesive, well-funded tobacco industry is systematically causing preventable deaths, destroying the environment, and crippling economies—all for its own profit. These truths will help us create support for the change so bitterly opposed by the tobacco ­industry.”

“There is a perception that we know everything about tobacco and the harm it causes, but the truth is that every edition of The Tobacco Atlas reveals something new about the industry, its tactics, and the real harm it causes,” said Peter Baldini, Chief Executive Officer of the World Lung Foundation.

He continued, “Our challenge, as a global community interested in health and development, is to raise awareness, to bring new voices to the table, to encourage governments to implement comprehensive tobacco control measures as quickly as possible, and to help them stand firm against industry threats and interference. Our fervent hope is that the next Atlas will report the fruits of such a strategy.” ■

 

More on Smoking Cessation

For more on tobacco, smoking cessation, and cancer, click here for an in-depth interview with American Cancer Society CEO John R. Seffrin, PhD.



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