Countries are urged by a global anti-tobacco conference, to take steps to reduce the consumption of tobacco, which is pointed as the leading cause of disease and death worldwide,
The 16th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health in Abu Dhabi is also calling for wider implementation of World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for cutting smoking rates and reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases.
Declaring all tobacco products harmful, the five-day conference said they “pose an especially heavy burden on low- and middle-income countries and should be de-normalized worldwide.”
Insisting that tobacco use of all form is a foremost contributor to the manifestation of non-communicable disease (NCDs) like cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Tobacco usage causes 1/6 in all NCD deaths and that more than 50 % of current tobacco users will ultimately expire of tobacco-related disease, Organizers warned.
To curtail tobacco use to meet the global target of a 30 percent reduction in consumption by year 2025, there is still much to be done, despite a decline in the number of smokers in many countries.
Nearly six million people each year or one in every second, die to tobacco usage, according to WHO, issuing a warning that unless urgent action is taken, annual death toll could rise to eight million by 2030.
Of the 35 million NCD annual deaths, 80 percent belong in low and middle-income countries, according to a statistics by WHO.
Guidelines on steps governments could take set by WHO framework convention includes, disciplinary tax measures, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, the creation of smoke-free work and public spaces, prominent health warnings on tobacco packages and combatting illicit trade.
The treaty implementation signed by 180 countries “has fallen short of objectives,” the conference is urging global cooperation for its full implementation.
Calling for the ratification of the treaty by 2018 by all countries, as well as for the adoption of plain packaging and requiring graphic warning packaging of at least more than more than 50 percent of cigarette packet, and the introduction of a 70 percent hike in taxes on the retail price of tobacco products by at least 15 additional countries.
The conference also supported an initiative to be voted by parliament in the Australian state of Tasmania Tuesday to achieve a “tobacco-free generation”, the banning of tobacco sales to all those born this century.
The host country of the conference, the United Arab Emirates, forefront of anti-tobacco practices, bans smoking in enclosed public areas and prohibits tobacco advertising and sponsorship. They also introduced graphic warnings on cigarette packs and prohibit the sale of tobacco products to underage.