Statement from Executive Director Laurent Huber

Contact: Megan Arendt, (202) 659 – 4310

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 30, 2018 – Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day, a day when we remind ourselves of the epidemic of disease and death that the tobacco industry continues to cause. The vision of a world without tobacco deaths is purely aspirational to many; few can truly foresee a world without tobacco products commercially sold.

Watch our video: Make Tobacco Vanish

Tweet about our collective goal: https://ctt.ac/5aqBe

While we celebrate progress in reducing the carnage, we always ask ourselves “how many pointless, preventable deaths are acceptable?” The answer must be zero.

Some may see this as extreme or naïve. Smoking has been around for centuries, and there are over a billion tobacco consumers around the world. In spite of over 50 years of fighting the tobacco industry, there are more smokers than ever. But this argument misidentifies the problem. We are not fighting smokers – they are the victims, not the perpetrators of this health catastrophe.

Sylvio and his wife Muriel who survived him with severe chronic shortness of breath and asthma, due to secondhand smoke exposure.

When Sylvio started smoking to fit in and became a heavy smoker by age 14, he was far too young to know the reality of what his addiction would entail. He couldn’t give up smoking despite ongoing sickness, and unfortunately, his smoking addiction eventually took his life.

All the responsibility and guilt lays with the tobacco industry, which continues to aggressively market a product that has been specifically engineered to be as addictive as possible and that they know will kill when used as intended. As the Danish Institute for Human Rights put it, “there can be no doubt that the production and marketing of tobacco is irreconcilable with the human right to health.”

The world is starting to wake up. If a new product came on the market tomorrow that was addictive and deadly, there is no doubt that swift action would be taken, including holding those responsible legally liable. We have had a blind spot when it comes to tobacco, but this is changing.

ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber with WCTOH 2018 President Dr. Flavia Senkubuge. Click here to read the declaration.

In March, the global health community adopted the Cape Town Declaration on Human Rights and a Tobacco-Free World, recognizing that the tobacco industry infringes on human rights. Over 150 organizations – and counting – have endorsed the Declaration.

There will come a May 31st we can celebrate being truly tobacco-free. ASH aims to bring that day as soon as possible, saving as many loved ones as possible.

 

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ACTION ON SMOKING AND HEALTH
Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is America’s oldest anti-tobacco organization, dedicated to a world with ZERO tobacco deaths. Because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH supports bold solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the problem. www.ash.org

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