Aug. 21 2008
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A comprehensive report issued today by the U.S-based National Cancer Institute presents definitive conclusions that tobacco marketing increases tobacco use, especially among children.
The report also concludes that mass media campaigns to educate the public and comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising and promotions are effective at reducing tobacco use.
The 684-page report, entitled "The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use," is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the scientific evidence on the media's role in encouraging and discouraging tobacco use.
The report is based on a review of more than 1,000 studies worldwide in the fields of marketing, psychology, communications, statistics, epidemiology and public health.
It provides powerful scientific evidence and guidance to governments around the world on how the tobacco industry uses and manipulates the media to encourage tobacco use and effective steps governments can take to protect the health of their citizens.
The report's conclusions should spur nations to effectively implement the World Health Organization's international tobacco control treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The treaty commits nations to implement scientifically proven measures to reduce tobacco use, including comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships and well-funded mass media campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use.
The report reaches several important conclusions that should guide policy makers worldwide in implementing measures to reduce tobacco use:
This report is very timely as nations implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and step up efforts to combat tobacco use, which the WHO has found is the world's leading cause of preventable death.
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, according to the WHO.
Tobacco use already kills 5.4 million people a year and the epidemic is worsening, especially in the developing world where more than 80 percent of tobacco-caused deaths will occur in the coming decades.
With 80 percent of smokers beginning as teens, the tobacco industry will continue to place a heavy emphasize on attracting a new generation of smokers.
Every day, 80,000 to 100,000 young people around the world become addicted to tobacco. If current trends continue, 250 million children alive today will die from tobacco-related disease.