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International Community Must Be Alert To New Smoking Trends, Put Forth Robust Efforts Against Tobacco Use

“As a global community, we know how detrimental smoking is to health. Why can’t we stem the growing trend of smoking among youth and in emerging markets?” Jeffrey Sturchio, senior partner at global health strategy firm Rabin Martin, and Derek Yach, senior vice president of the Vitality Group where he leads the Vitality Institute for Health Promotion, ask in the Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog. Though anti-smoking efforts have shown success, “progress toward ending tobacco has stalled,” they write, adding, “Equally alarming is the increasing trend of tobacco use in developing and middle-income countries, where 80 percent of smokers now live.”

“Economists predict a sustained growth in tobacco use in emerging markets in years to come,” Sturchio and Yach continue, adding, “Left unchecked, there will be an estimated eight million tobacco-related deaths per year by 2030 (up from the current six million).” They ask, “What can be done?” and write, “A big part of the solution is embodied in the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day — ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.” They state, “By putting forth robust efforts against tobacco use today, countries can drastically reduce long-term health costs that result from lung cancer, heart disease, upper respiratory infections and other tobacco-related illnesses,” concluding, “Today we need to reach out to all tobacco users with a few simple messages. Tobacco kills. Don’t start. If you smoke — quit. Your country can’t afford your habit” (5/30).