A Winnable Battle Arendtm September 17, 2014 Blog, Smoke Alarms The CDC identifies reducing tobacco as a “Winnable Battle” because tobacco is a public health priority with “large-scale impact on health and with known, effective strategies to address them.” For ASH, the ability to significantly improve the protection of U.S. citizens from tobacco-related damage, disease, and death is the driver behind our work in public health. Eradicating the tobacco epidemic should be a major national priority because tobacco use is still the #1 preventable cause of death in the U.S., killing about 480,000 Americans each year. Tobacco use is responsible for over 20% of all American deaths. But, as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” That principle is what ASH stands by and that principle is what ASH hopes to inspire others to believe in when reading our latest report: The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: An Implementation Guide for U.S. State and Local Officials. To combat the tobacco epidemic, countries around the world negotiated and implemented, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC, the world’s 1st international health treaty, is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and includes measures that encourage nations to take an all-encompassing approach to effective tobacco policy. The United States, unfortunately, is not a party to the FCTC, but the FCTC and its guidelines still provide excellent tobacco control strategies that can be implemented in American states, counties, cities, and towns. Here at ASH, we are firm believers in the concept “change begins at home.” That is why we created this FCTC Implementation Guide for U.S. State and Local Officials. The guide illustrates how effective FCTC policies and useful strategies from other countries can be implemented by state and local officials in their home jurisdictions. The guide also provides model legislation and legal resources to assist local lawmakers in creating tobacco control policies. Implementation of FCTC measures at the state and local levels would provide many more Americans with the much needed protection from the damage, disease, and death attributed to tobacco products and their use. While ASH strongly advocates for U.S. ratification and implementation of the FCTC, national ratification is not a prerequisite for local action. This guide is intended to help U.S. state and local officials take steps toward making their communities increasingly free from tobacco. For more information and resources please read the ASH WHO FCTC U.S. State and Local Implementation Guide and visit our database.