Editorials

The challenge for Beijing: the 10th world conference on tobacco or health

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7106.440 (Published 23 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:440

The best national strategies need to be adopted worldwide

  1. Robert Beaglehole, Professora (r.beaglehol@auckland.ac.nz)
  1. a Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand

    International tobacco control workers have cause for modest celebration. Recent events in Britain, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Western Australia, and New Zealand indicate the progress that is being made in controlling the devastating effects of the transnational tobacco industry. Even so, compared with the extent of the problem, progress is slow and limited to only a few wealthy countries. The 10th world conference on tobacco or health in Beijing this month comes at a critical time.

    In developing regions over half the men are current smokers and cigarette consumption is rising. Already tobacco prematurely kills an estimated three million people worldwide each year and this will rise to 8.4 million deaths annually by 2020.1 Virtually all this increase will occur in developing countries, which are most vulnerable to the tobacco industry and where tobacco control activists are rare. Most of the burden of disease in the next 30 years will fall on current smokers, indicating the importance of programmes to support cessation. Comprehensive tobacco control programmes are cost effective.2

    In Britain the antitobacco summit called last month …

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