The World Health Organization estimates that the tobacco-related epidemic kills approximately 6 million people per year,[1] and according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and WHO economists’ tobacco costs the world up to two percent of its yearly GDP.[2],[3] In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, tobacco causes over 480,000 deaths and costs more than $300 billion a year.[4] 

The world has responded to this threat by developing and adopting a number of global mechanisms to help reduce tobacco at the local level:

  • A global tobacco treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which sets the global standard for best practices to reduce tobacco use such as tax and price measures to reduce tobacco use, marketing and advertising bans, protection from tobacco smoke, and others;
  • A U.N. General Assembly High-level Meeting and Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) that calls for an accelerated implementation of the FCTC;
  • A NCD Global Action Plan and a monitoring framework to address NCDs that stresses implementation of the FCTC and calls for a 30% reduction in tobacco use; and
  • The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include FCTC implementation as a target and also include a tobacco indicator that all countries will report on.

ASH is proud to have been involved in the development of all of these mechanisms, and we call on all jurisdictions around the world to accelerate implementation of the measures in the FCTC.



[1] World Health Organization, Tobacco Fact Sheet, available at

[2] Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, Opening Statement at the United Nations High-level Meeting to Undertake the Comprehensive Review and Assessment of the Progress Achieved in the Prevention and Control of NCDs, United Nations, New York (july 10, 2014), available at

[3] Goodchild M, Nargis N, Tursan d’Espaignet E. Global economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases. Tobacco Control Published Online First: 30 January 2017. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2016-053305