Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world and caused in 2005 5.4 million deaths. This means in average of one death every 6 seconds and if current trends continue it is estimated to reach more than 8 million by 2030. 1 in 3 adults worldwide smokes and 50% of them will die because of tobacco consumption. Tobacco consumption affects every organ system in the body and is a risk factor for six of the eight leading causes of deaths in the world.
Second-hand tobacco smoke is dangerous to health as well and causes heart disease and many serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in adults, which can lead to death. An estimated 700 million children, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke; only 100% smoke-free environments provide effective protection.
Physicians’ role in the tobacco cessation is as a respected and reliable person to increase awareness and education among patients during the medical visit.
During the difficult time of cessation physicians can offer their patients regular support, pharmacological treatment and relapse prophylaxis. These activities increases cessation rate to 15-20 %.
The WMA joined the implementation process of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC is an international treaty that condemns tobacco as an addictive substance, imposes bans on advertising and promotion of tobacco and reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. The first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the WHO, the FCTC entered into force in 2005 and is the most widely embraced treaty in UN history, with 168 signatories and 154 ratifications to date. The WMA is involved in the working groups on articles 12 and 14 of the Convention, dealing with education, communication, training activities and increase public awareness (article 12) and tobacco dependency and cessation (article 14).
WMA Current Policy & Action
- Statement on Health Hazards of Tobacco Products
- Statement on Physicians and Public Health
- Statement on Health Promotion
WMA Luncheon Seminar on Tobacco Cessation, May 2009 in Geneva Presentations
- Tobacco Control and Cessation by Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director, Tobacco Free Initiative, World Health Organization
- Tobacco and Health Policies: Mexico´s Perspective by Dr. José Ángel Córdova Villalobos, Health Secretariat, Mexico
WMA Luncheon Seminar on Tobacco Cessation, October 2008 in Seoul, Korea Presentations
- Success story of anti-smoking campaign in a developing country with high prevalence of cigarette smoking - South Korea by Il Suh, MD, PhD, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
- A Call to Arms to Physicians: Helping our Patients Quit Smoking by late Dr. Ronald M. Davis, Past President of American Medical Association