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The Executive Officer for Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Lutgard Kagaruki said at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town

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17th World Conference On Tobacco Or Health: Research On Trends Shaping Tobacco Control Battle Lines To Dominate Discussions

February 05, 2018

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai
Scientific research findings on progress geared at eliminating tobacco use and trends currently shaping the future battle lines of tobacco control on a global scale will dominate discussions at the forthcoming 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, WCTOH, billed for Cape Town, South Africa from March 7 to 9, 2018.

The conference holding on the African continent for the first time, will bring together researchers; academicians; NGO and Civil Society Organisation representatives; scientists; healthcare professionals and public officials working on all aspects of tobacco control from more than 100 countries.

This information is contained in a media release issued in Cape Town and dated February 1, 2018 by the organisers. “Convened by WCTOH’s Advisory Board, the Cape Town Consortium and the Conference Secretariat (The Union), WCTOH is a call for a collective resolution to fight tobacco use by working together and integrating tobacco into our health and development goals. Held every three years, WCTOH is the premier international conference on tobacco control,” the release states.

The theme of the conference which is: “Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free Generation,” according to the organisers, recognises that tobacco control is a global issue, crossing all geographical boundaries. “The World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC, stands as the backdrop for the conference and for our global response to the tobacco epidemic. It is the only internationally, legally-binding health treaty of the 21st century,” it is affirmed.

According to the scientific programme announced by the organisers, presentations would border, amongst others, on topics such as: “Electronic cigarette use and conventional cigarette smoking initiation among youth in the United States,” authored by researchers based at the Centers for Diseases Control, CDC, in the US.
Others include: “The impact of tobacco point-of-sale display ban on youth in the United Kingdom: findings from a repeat cross-sectional survey pre-, mid and post-implementation”; “Use of flavoured cigarettes in the first few puffs: a step toward smoking initiation and nicotine addiction? Data from a national survey among Brazilian adolescent”; and “individual cost of smoking in a study Population (US)” [and in the study] “Economics of tobacco control in Nigeria: Modeling the fiscal and health effects of a tobacco excise tax change.”

The release quotes the Chair of the 17th WCTOH Advisory Board, Prof. Harry Lando as haven declared that “the high quality of the science being presented in Cape Town comes at a pivotal moment in tobacco control. On the one hand, we will see research being presented confirming the astounding public health progress made to eliminate smoking over the past decade but challengingly, we will also see research on trends that are currently shaping the future battle lines of tobacco control on a global scale.”

“For the past 50 years, WCTOH has been the premier international forum on tobacco control and this year’s event…is expected to attract over 2000 researchers, scientists, civil society, healthcare professionals, policymakers and media representatives from more than 100 countries. Tobacco use is the world’s leading preventable cause of death killing more than seven million people each year,” the President of the 17th WCTOH, Dr. Flavia Senkubuge, is quoted to have declared.

The media release holds that “while tobacco use is decreasing in many countries, evidence has shown that smoking rates in Africa are anticipated to rise dramatically. By 2030, the number of smokers in the region is projected to increase by 40 percent from 2010 levels, unless there is significant intervention. Africa continues to be aggressively targeted by the tobacco industry, as it represents an opportunity for considerable market growth.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease; José Luis Castro says “it is highly significant that the WCTOH is taking place on the African continent for the very first time – in many ways the region is a test case for the direction of tobacco control and its ability in the coming years to rein in aggressive interference from Big Tobacco.”

Making reference to the theme of the conference, the organisers note that there will be “overarching focus on expediting progress to reduce tobacco use in all populations around the world – using new research and innovative approaches in public health, as well as powerful but under-used policies, including tobacco taxation and those aimed at preventing industry interference.”

Source: The Post Newspaper No. 01889 of Monday 5 February 2018