Sixth edition of The Tobacco Atlas launched today

The sixth edition of The Tobacco Atlas was launched today at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town, South Africa. The publication shows that the tobacco industry is increasingly targeting vulnerable populations in emerging markets, such as Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, where people are not protected by strong tobacco control regulations.

The Atlas, which is co-authored by American Cancer Society (ACS) and Vital Strategies, shows the scale of the tobacco epidemic around the globe. It highlights where progress has been made in tobacco control, and describes the latest products and tactics being deployed by the tobacco industry to grow its profits and delay or derail tobacco control efforts. In response to an evolving tobacco control landscape, the Sixth Edition includes new chapters on regulating novel products, partnerships, tobacco industry tactics and countering the industry.

The Atlas shows that progress is possible in every region of the world. African countries in particular are at a critical point – both because they are targets of the industry but also because many have opportunity to strengthen policies and act before smoking is at epidemic levels.” said Jeffrey Drope, PhD, co-editor and author of The Atlas and Vice President, Economic and Health Policy Research at the American Cancer Society.

At the press conference where The Atlas was launched, Emma Wanyoni from Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance and the Kenya International Institute of Legislative Affairs, spoke about the challenges they have face in Kenya, where it took 10 years to get a tobacco control policy put in place, she urged governments to act now with tough tobacco control laws to avoid the unnecessary injuries and death caused by tobacco.

“The Atlas shows that wherever tobacco control is implemented, it works. People benefit economically and in improved health. And the industry rightly suffers,” said José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies.

“Tobacco causes harm at every stage of its life cycle, from cultivation to disposal,” said Dr. Neil Schluger, Vital Strategies’ Senior Advisor for Science and co-editor and author of The Atlas. “It is linked to an ever-increasing list of diseases, burdens health systems, and exacerbates poverty. The only way to avert this harm is for all governments to vigorously implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and to enforce the proven strategies that reduce tobacco use.”

Dr Schluger stressed that while Africa has seen real successes in tobacco control recently, economic growth has increased consumers’ ability to afford tobacco products and there is a lack of tobacco control interventions to deter tobacco use. The Sixth Edition of The Tobacco Atlas reveals that the tobacco industry deliberately targets countries that lack tobacco control laws and exploits governments, farmers and vulnerable populations across Africa.

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