World Govts Must Do More to Help Citizens Quit Smoking

Each year on May 31, the World Health Organisation (WHO) hosts World No Tobacco Day aimed at spreading awareness about the risks of tobacco use and to encourage governments to implement effective tobacco-control policies. The theme for 2021 challenges smokers to "Commit to Quit". WHO predicts that there will be more than 1 billion people who smoke in 2025, about the same number as today.

Tobacco use is a common risk factor to the main noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic respiratory disease like tuberculosis. Globally, 14% of all NCDs deaths among adults aged 30 years and over are attributable to tobacco. If governments do not become a legitimate and accessible source of support for people who want to stop smoking, it risks the tobacco industry taking over this role. That would be a conflict of interest, write Sam Filby, research officer at Research on the Economics of Excisable Products, at the University of Cape Town and Corné van Walbeek, professor at the School of Economics and principal investigator of the Economics of Tobacco Control Project, at the University of Cape Town.

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