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Injecting greater urgency into global tobacco control
  1. D Yach
  1. Correspondence to:
 Derek Yach
 Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, 60 College Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; derek.yachyale.edu

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Keynote address at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco annual meeting, Prague, 21 March 2005

This year has begun well for tobacco control. One hundred and ninety two countries, all members of the World Health Organization, have solemnly pledged to rid the world of the death and disease trail caused by tobacco. Sixty countries have ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and thus given us an instrument with which we can systematically tackle all aspects of tobacco control including agriculture and finance, trade and commerce, education and health.

Together with the then director general of the WHO, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, I had the privilege of laying the foundations upon which this public health edifice was built. When we started our work in July 1998, few believed we would succeed. The tobacco industry watched us with bated breath and tried to thwart our work at every step.

SIGNIFICANT POLICY CHANGES

Last week, I asked friends on GLOBALink around the world what they considered to be the most exciting and significant policy changes at country or local level to advance tobacco control over the last six months. GLOBALink includes tobacco control advocates and researchers who share knowledge and ideas through a closed website. Their response was fast—the first came within minutes of my query. They told stories of activism and progress, courage and leadership in an area of public health that no longer makes headlines. Every success story means fewer lives lost.

Let me share some of the stories with you.

From the world’s largest democracy, India, we heard about a total ban on tobacco advertising, ban on smoking in public places, and the latest Indian budget raised tobacco taxes. From Canada, a world leader in tobacco control and one of the earliest supporters of the FCTC, we heard that …

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