New Advice for Physicians on Second Hand Tobacco Smoke, Tuberculosis Treatment and Ethics Education


(07.01.2016) Health Effects of Second Hand Smoke

A new online course for physicians to help them assess the health effects of second hand tobacco smoke on children’s health has been made available by the World Medical Association.

The course helps physicians understand the robustness of the existing evidence. It also assists them in exploring intervention methods and legislation to minimise the exposure from tobacco smoke for infants and children. It has been developed by the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, USA in collaboration with the WMA.

WMA President Sir Michael Marmot said: ‘Infants and children are the most vulnerable in the population when it comes to exposure to tobacco smoke. Whether it is in cars or the home, second hand tobacco smoke is causing immense damage to the health of children.

‘Physicians have to do more to press for smoking bans and tobacco free environments. Millions of children are breathing air polluted by tobacco smoke. We can intervene on behalf of infants and children and we must’.

Tuberculosis and Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis

The course, which is free of charge, allows physicians to register for continuing medical education credits. The course is available alongside the recently updated WMA learning programme for multi drug resistant tuberculosis guidelines. This course is also a free self-learning online tool and is available in English and Mandarin Chinese on the WMA website. It allows physicians around the world to learn and test their knowledge about multi drug resistant TB which is spreading around the world and is difficult to treat.

The course was developed with the WMA by the New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Institute.

Medical Ethics Manual

Meanwhile, the WMA was today issuing the third edition of its Medical Ethics Manual, as well as launching its translation into Slovenian. The main changes from previous editions are the addition of sections on patient safety and physicians and the environment, updating references to revised WMA policies, such as the 2013 Declaration of Helsinki, and updating references and links to medical ethics resources on the internet.

The Slovenian edition of the Manual was launched today at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. Professor Matjaž Zwitter, Head of the  Department of Medical Ethics and Law at the University’s Medical Faculty, said: ‘Spectacular advances in diagnostic and therapeutic interventions are bringing new and ever more complex ethical dilemmas. Professional judgement supported by evidence-based medicine should always be complemented by ethical reasoning. As a teacher of medical ethics, I was impressed by the enthusiasm and interest of a group of medical students who have completed the Slovenian translation of the WMA Medical Ethics Manual. The Manual will be distributed at no charge to all physicians in Slovenia and will be invaluable in education, in research, and in resolving ethical dilemmas in daily medical practice.’