Thursday, 19 March 2015

Out With Tobacco- WHO Urges Countries to Intensify Anti-tobacco Campaign

World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan has urged global action to drive tobacco companies "out of business" and hailed progress in tackling smoking in many countries.

Speaking at the World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Chan welcomed steps taken by countries, led by Australia, to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

Tobacco companies "use all sorts of tactics including funding political parties, individual politicians to work for them ... There is nothing they would not exploit to undermine the governments' resolve and determination to protect their own people," Chan told reporters.

"It's going to be a tough fight ... (but) we should not give up until we make sure that the tobacco industry goes out of business," she said.

According to the WHO, one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco - nearly six million people each year.

Participants at the conference have warned that unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to eight million by 2030.

Meanwhile, billionaire philanthropists Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates have launched a new $4 million fund to help developing countries fight off legal challenges from tobacco companies.

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