The WHO Framework Tobacco Control and Tobacco Harm Reduction

Emeritus Professor and ASH Chair Robert Beaglehole presents at the E-Cigarette Summit

The World Health Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the associated MPOWER package of interventions provide a comprehensive approach to tobacco control including, at least in theory, tobacco harm reduction.

Implementation of these interventions has been limited particularly for the most effective measures such as excise tax increases and comprehensive bans on advertising and sponsorship. Even in countries which have fully implemented WHO’s recommendations marked failures in tobacco control are evident. For example, in New Zealand which has for three decades been progressively implementing WHO recommendations, inequalities in cigarette smoking rates have not been reduced and adult daily cigarette smoking rates are 13%.

The enormous potential of tobacco harm reduction has not been realized. In part, this is because of divisions within the tobacco control community and fears of youth vaping. New Zealand vaping legislation was passed in August 2020 and, despite several limitations, has the potential to accelerate progress toward New Zealand’s ambitious, but achievable, Smokefree 2025 goal with <5% of adults smoking cigarettes a daily. The New Zealand experience provides lessons for countries at all stages in their efforts to reduce the dreadful burden of death and disease caused by cigarette smoking, especially the need for evidence-based tobacco harm reduction strategies.

 

To view the presentation, click HERE