WHO steps up fight against tobacco
March 11, 2018ç
The World Health Organization has launched new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in reducing tobacco demand, saving lives and raising revenues for health services to treat tobacco-related diseases.
The new guide, titled ‘Tobacco product regulation: Building laboratory testing capacity’, and a collection of country approaches to regulation of menthol in tobacco products, presented in the publication, titled ‘Case studies for regulatory approaches to tobacco products — Menthol in tobacco products’, were launched at the 2018 World Conference on Tobacco or Health recently.
Dr. Douglas Bettcher, WHO’s Director of the Department for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), said: “These new tools provide useful resource to countries to either introduce or improve existing tobacco product regulation provisions and end the tobacco industry’s ‘reign’.”
Most countries hesitate to implement policies, due in part to the highly technical nature of such policy interventions and the difficulties in translating science into regulation, explained Dr. Vinayak Prasad, who leads WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative. “Failure to regulate represents a missed opportunity as tobacco product regulation, in the context of comprehensive control, is a valuable tool that complements other tried and tested tobacco control interventions, such as raising taxes, and ensuring smoke-free environments,” he added.
The new guidelines provide practical, stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing. Such guidance is relevant to a wide range of countries in various settings, including those with inadequate resources to establish a testing facility.
The laboratory guide has comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful way to support regulation.