UN Observance: World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2016

Get ready for plain packaging!

For this year’s World No Tobacco Day, WHO and the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling on countries to get ready for plain (standardized) packaging of tobacco products. Plain packaging refers to measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and font style.

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What is plain packaging?

Plain packaging is an evidence based measure that can save lives and protect public health.

It reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products and restricts the use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion by limiting misleading packaging and labelling.

It also increases the effectiveness of health warnings.

shutterstock_408756496In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging. On 20 May 2016, France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland each began implementation of plain packaging. Ireland is also preparing to introduce the measure, while other countries are exploring the option.

 

World No Tobacco Day

To mark World No Tobacco Day, WHO is launching a new guide to plain packaging of tobacco products, which gives governments the latest evidence and guidance on implementing the measure.

“Most governments are committed to curbing the tobacco epidemic and reducing tobacco-related harm, such as deaths from cancers, heart and lung diseases,” says Dr. Vera da Costa e Silva, Head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. “It is vital they have access to evidence-based, effective guidance that can support their efforts to protect the health of their populations.”

Smoking related facts

  • Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.
  • Approximately 1 person dies from a tobacco-caused disease every 6 seconds, equivalent to almost 6 million people a year. This is forecast to rise to more than 8 million people a year by 2030, with more than 80% of these preventable deaths occurring among people living in low-and middle-income countries.
  • Tobacco control represents a powerful tool in improving health in communities and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG target 3.4 is to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by one-third by 2030, including cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, cancers and diabetes.

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The WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)

WHO FCTC entered into force in 2005. Parties are obliged to take a number of steps to reduce demand and supply for tobacco products. Actions addressed in the Convention include protecting people from exposure to tobacco smoke, banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, banning sales to minors, requiring health warnings on tobacco packaging, promoting tobacco cessation, increasing tobacco taxes and creating a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control. There are 180 Parties to the Convention.

Video Statement by WHO Director:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJhFjrhTWSE

WHO: World No Tobacco Day 2016 – Get ready for plain packaging: https://youtu.be/rXUCTSp2_58

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