solution

Optimism

The tobacco epidemic rages on, but the tools we already have can make a genuine life-or-death difference. Governments must act proactively and assertively to implement these proven interventions and strongly resist the tobacco industry’s efforts to undermine these efforts.

As a modest start, we can set our sights on the established goal of a 30% relative reduction in prevalence by 2025 (from a 2010 baseline) with far more ambitious goals immediately thereafter. But governments must make a larger effort to implement these interventions and proponents working within government must raise their voices for change. And those outside of government, including civil society and researchers, must pressure governments to redouble their efforts, and provide assistance necessary to realizing these goals. We hope you will commit seriously to be part of this effort to save millions of lives from the scourge of tobacco use.


Tobacco Control Policy Implementation

Average performance across five major tobacco control policies (smoke-free, warning labels, cessation, marketing bans and taxes).

There is considerable discussion in the public health community about the role of potentially less harmful tobacco products. This issue is complex. We implore readers to be open-minded but also skeptical, and to always turn to science – tobacco control must be grounded in facts. There may be no one-size-fits-all solution to this new challenge, but we must work together as a public health community, find or rigorously generate the necessary evidence, interpret it thoughtfully, and avoid dogmatism that serves to divide and potentially obfuscate important truths. While we must address new developments, we also cannot let them distract from the key tasks at hand, particularly implementing evidence-based measures such as high excise taxes on cigarettes. New approaches to reducing tobacco-related disease will almost certainly work better in concert with proven measures to motivate quitting and discourage initiation. Moreover, there is no substitute for the weight of government action when it comes to implementing these proven measures.

As a modest start, we can set our sights on the established goal of a 30% relative reduction in prevalence by 2025 (from a 2010 baseline) with far more ambitious goals immediately thereafter. But governments must make a larger effort to implement these interventions and proponents working within government must raise their voices for change. And those outside of government, including civil society and researchers, must pressure governments to redouble their efforts, and provide assistance necessary to realizing these goals. We hope you will commit seriously to be part of this effort to save millions of lives from the scourge of tobacco use.