For public health experts, there’s more than a little irony in the fact that perhaps the biggest threat to human health globally is heavily marketed around the world by one of the most successful industries that exists: tobacco.
This week, the 16th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health refocused the world’s attention on tobacco, which has been called the worst global epidemic in history. The American Cancer Society’s notable contribution (with our colleagues at the World Lung Foundation) is The Tobacco Atlas, Fifth Edition, which graphically and dramatically details the financial and deadly price we pay.
Accompanying the release of the report is this interview with Jeffrey Drope, Ph.D., ACS co-author. Writer Elizabeth Mendes asks Dr. Drope what fact surprised him most when putting together the Tobacco Atlas:
“One of the most disturbing negative findings was the fact that now more girls than boys use tobacco products in 24 countries, compared to only 2 countries where prevalence is higher for women. This suggests to me a massive and apparently successful effort by the tobacco industry to market specifically to young girls. As not only a breathing person, but also the father of two daughters, I object strenuously to these malevolent efforts.”
Elizabeth also asked Dr. Drope:
“Are there any countries that are doing everything right when it comes to tobacco control?”
“No country is doing everything right, but there are some notable high performers….”
Those high performers include Australia, Ireland, and the Philippines.
- $0.11: The amount needed per person per year to implement four of the most cost-effective tobacco control interventions in all low- and middle-income countries: tax increases, advertising bans, smoke-free areas, and package warning labels. This investment would save tens of millions of lives over the coming decades. The cost of intervention for each country is available at tobaccoatlas.org.
- 1.69 Billion: The number of pounds of cigarette butts that end up as litter each year, making them the most commonly discarded type of waste in the world.
Also, you can see both these authors present their work at the launch of the Tobacco Atlas in Abu Dhabi, recorded and posted to YouTube. Dr. Drope’s comment start here. Mr. Liber’s, which address the important issue of water pipe smoking, start here: