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Respirology. 2003 Mar;8(1):7-16.

Government action to reduce smoking.

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  • ASH, London, United Kingdom. amanda.sandford@ash.org.uk


The major health impacts of smoking were established more than 40 years ago but Governments were slow to respond to the growing health epidemic. Despite laudable tobacco control strategies in many countries, globally deaths from smoking continue to rise and are forecast to reach 10 million a year by the 2030's. There is now general agreement that in order to substantially reduce smoking rates, governments need to adopt a comprehensive approach to tobacco control. This should include a range of measures, notably: a total ban on tobacco advertising and promotion; restrictions on smoking in public places and in the workplace; sustained increases in tobacco taxation combined with measures to curb smuggling; large, bold health warnings on tobacco products; smoking cessation and health education campaigns; and the regulation of tobacco to standards agreed by the health community rather than those set by the tobacco industry. While legislation is to be favoured over voluntary controls, the key to the successful implementation of these measures is winning public support and ensuring proper enforcement. Given the enormous burden that smoking places on health services, governments in developed nations have generally responded by introducing a range of tobacco control measures. However, the picture is far from uniform and some of the best examples of strong, government-led action have occurred in less developed nations. Governments can learn much from these countries and, by supporting the impending global treaty on tobacco control, can help to reduce the smoking-related diseases and deaths of the future.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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