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Pediatr Allergy Immunol Pulmonol. 2010 Jun;23(2):99-103.

Tobacco Control and Children: An International Perspective.


Tobacco use currently claims >5 million deaths per year worldwide and this number is projected to increase dramatically by 2030. The burden of death and disease is shifting to low- and middle-income countries. Tobacco control initiatives face numerous challenges including not being a high priority in many countries, government dependence upon immediate revenue from tobacco sales and production, and opposition of the tobacco industry. Tobacco leads to environmental harms, exploitation of workers in tobacco farming, and increased poverty. Children are especially vulnerable. Not only do they initiate tobacco use themselves, but also they are victimized by exposure to highly toxic secondhand smoke. Awareness of tobacco adverse health effects is often superficial even among health professionals. The tobacco industry continues to aggressively promote its products and recognizes that children are its future. The tools and knowledge exist, however, to dramatically reduce the global burden of tobacco. In 2003 the World Health Organization adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Aggressive tobacco control initiatives have been undertaken not only in high-income countries but also in less-wealthy countries such as Uruguay and Thailand. Stakeholders must come together in coordinated efforts and there must be a broad and sustained investment in global tobacco control.

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