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WHO welcomes new resources to fight tobacco use

Statement from WHO

Statement
23 July 2008

WHO welcomes the announcement from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Philanthropies to inject significant new resources into the global fight against tobacco use. This contribution will help countries with limited resources reduce tobacco use, and it offers WHO and its partners new opportunities to reverse this growing epidemic, especially in the developing world.

"The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control demonstrated the global resolve to tackle this problem and WHO has developed interventions proven to be effective to combat tobacco use," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "I warmly welcome this contribution and I am especially pleased with its focus on Africa."

If trends continue, this epidemic could kill one billion people by the end of this century, with more than 80% of these deaths occurring in developing countries. The tobacco industry is targeting young women and children as its next group of tobacco users.

To help countries fulfil the promise of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO created MPOWER, a package of six effective tobacco control policies: raising taxes and prices; banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship; protecting people from second-hand smoke; educating everyone about the dangers of tobacco; offering help to people who want to quit; and tracking the epidemic and prevention policies. These steps have proven to reduce tobacco use.

"As policies, funding and interventions are aligning, our global resolve is being transformed into action," said Dr Chan. "We must intensify our efforts to reach the 95% of the world's people who are not benefiting from the effective MPOWER interventions. With leadership and support, we can save the lives of millions of people."

For more information, please contact:

Dick Thompson
News Team Leader
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: + 41 22 791 1942
Mobile: + 41 79 475 5534
E-mail: thompsond@who.int

Douglas Bettcher
Ad Interim Director
Tobacco Free Initiative
Telephone: + 41 22 791 4253
Mobile: + 41 79 249 3522
E-mail: bettcherd@who.int

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