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WHO calls for intensified efforts to fight smoking

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a report designed to
measure compliance with the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,
approved by the WHO's member states in 2005 and to intensify anti-tobacco
efforts.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a report designed to
measure compliance with the global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,
approved by the WHO's member states in 2005 and to intensify anti-tobacco
efforts.

According to the report, four-fifths of all countries have failed to
implement any significant measures to fight smoking, despite an estimated
100 million people dying as a direct result of tobacco during the 20th
century (5m deaths from lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses) and
a further 1bn more deaths expected in the century to come. The number of
tobacco related deaths is said to be higher than the cumulative number of
deaths resulting from Aids, tuberculosis and malaria worldwide. A mere 5 per
cent of the global population is protected by national smoke-free laws or
bans on advertising and promotion despite smoking being the single most
preventable cause of death internationally,

The WHO report also highlighted poor compliance with the six measures judged
most effective in tackling smoking, especially in developing countries where
tobacco companies are concentrating their marketing and sales efforts. It
calls for intensified global efforts, and suggests a number of policies such
as raising tobacco taxes, bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship,
smoke-free environments and offering help to people who want to quit.

Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, said: "While efforts to combat
tobacco are gathering momentum, virtually every country needs to do more."

12th February 2008

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