50 years ago the 1st Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health clearly established the terrible toll taken by tobacco on the health of smokers and set the United States on a public health campaign to rid the nation of the threat posed by the use of tobacco to the smoker and to those involuntarily exposed to second-hand smoke.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has been a part of that campaign from the outset. But while the campaign has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the prevalence of tobacco use, far too many young people are still enticed into a life of addiction to tobacco and far too many Americans continue to suffer and die as a result of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
In view of the global reach of the tobacco industry, ASH has played a key role for the past 15 years to extend the campaign to stem the epidemic of tobacco related disease beyond the United States to countries around the world through the development of the 1st treaty negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organization, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Although the FCTC has been signed, but not ratified by the United States, it provides a useful pathway to states and localities to update their tobacco control efforts and to advance the public health campaign that was started 50 years ago.
As a physician who witnesses the pain and suffering caused by tobacco use day in and day out, I welcome the release of ASH’s report The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: An Implementation Guide for U.S. State and Local Officials.
I hope public health officials at all levels of government will measure their tobacco control efforts against the standards set by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. I also urge members of state legislatures to strongly consider motions expressing support for the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and prod the federal government to ratify the convention.
Dr. Alfred Munzer, MD
Board of Trustees
Action on Smoking and Health