Intended for healthcare professionals


The WHO wants governments to encourage people to stop smoking

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 07 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1688
  1. Jo E Asvall, Regional directora
  1. a WHO Regional Office for Europe, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

    Dear Prime Minister,

    All the really difficult problems in your country's development land on your desk. From morning to night your schedule overflows with burning issues that claim your attention. Setting priorities is a constant challenge. There are times, however, when a small effort on your part can make a large contribution to the quality of life of the people of your country. This is one of those times, because you alone can orchestrate the concerted action of many ministries. I am addressing you today on such a matter, to ask for your support. Help your people by reducing the awful threats to their life and health that smoking inflicts on them.

    Tobacco is one of the greatest public health challenges facing the 51 member states of the WHO European region. Every year over 1.2 million deaths in the region are caused by tobacco. By 2020, unless we really change things, that number …

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