Nov. 9 2006
Washington, DC — The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids congratulates Dr. Margaret Chan on her election as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization and looks forward to working with her to combat the global tobacco epidemic. We urge Dr. Chan and the WHO to bring to the fight against tobacco use a level of leadership, commitment and resources that reflects the tremendous toll tobacco use already takes and will continue to take on global health.
Dr. Chan has an impressive record of service as the Director of the Hong Kong Department of Health, where she assisted the government in formulating public health policies, particularly her work to establish the Tobacco Control Office. Dr. Chan also participated in the development of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the international tobacco control treaty, as the vice-chairperson of the FCTC Working Group.
We urge Dr. Chan and the WHO to support the full and effective implementation of the FCTC and the development of strong protocols on critical issues such as cigarette smuggling and cross-border advertising. It is also essential that WHO provide nations with the technical assistance and resources they need to effectively implement the treaty.
Tobacco use killed one hundred million people in the 20th century, and if current trends continue, it will claim one billion lives in the 21st century. In the coming decades, 70 percent of these deaths will be in developing countries. However, if adult cigarette consumption is cut in half worldwide, we can prevent more than 300 million deaths from tobacco in the next 50 years. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids looks forward to working with Dr. Chan and the WHO in implementing the proven solutions that we know can save millions of lives.