World No Tobacco Day 2005: rationale
Code of practice on tobacco control for health professional organizations
Health Professionals that attended the January 2004 meeting (close to 50, from 29 different international organizations) were enthusiastic about this approach. They presented and showed how, in most cases, they already had in place similar approaches to tobacco control among their own organizations and affiliates.
All the participants deliberated and created what they would like to be a standard code of practice on tobacco control for their organizations. This code of practice lists 14 action points by which Health Professionals themselves can contribute to tobacco control, including the support to the WHO FCTC process. The code of practice was adopted by all the representatives present at the meeting and has been promoted and shared since among their members and affiliates.
The code of practice has been translated into the 6 official WHO languages; and other languages at the Health Professionals own initiative.
Global Health Professionals Tobacco Survey
The Health Professionals agreed, and it was included in the code of practice, that they should be a role model to others. By promoting smoke-free workplaces and a smoke-free culture they should set the example to follow by their patients. One of the aspects of World No Tobacco Day 2005 will be to conduct a pilot survey on smoking: the Global Health Professionals Students Tobacco Survey -following the principles of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, in collaboration with CDC. The development of the survey is already in place, with samples that will be collected from 6 countries (one on every WHO region). The results of this pilot survey will be used on the materials to be produced.
Leverage and dissemination
One of the reasons to have chosen this theme, is the possibility to use information and resources from existing initiatives. Health Professional organizations are aware of their potential role and responsibility in tobacco control and several organizations have already initiated specific activities to this extent. For example, a Doctors Manifesto for Tobacco Control was launched on 21 October 2002 , with the support of medical associations worldwide. Many individual associations have their own codes regarding tobacco control (i.e. Pharmacists against Tobacco, had previously to the code of practice their own no-Smoking action in Pharmacies). This group in particular dedicated WNTD 2004 to "the role of the pharmacist in promoting a tobacco free future", including the promotion of the code of practice adopted during the meeting convened by WHO.
WNTD 2005 is a good occasion to leverage these efforts, and capitalize on the outcomes and the enthusiasm of the participants of that meeting, disseminating the outcomes of the meeting and adding new information that can have the joint effort of different group of professionals towards one cause: tobacco control.