WHO calls for war on tobacco to include antiaddiction treatment

Noting that tobacco products are designed to create and maintain dependence, and that many of their constituent compounds are toxic and can cause cancer, WHO stressed that therapies for tobacco dependence can contribute substantially and immediately to health gains.”There is overwhelming evidence of the health benefits of quitting smoking, and the effectiveness of treating tobacco dependence, which is classified as a disorder,” WHO’s Director for tobacco control, Vera da Costa e Silva, said as the agency released the policy guidelines at the 12th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Helsinki, Finland.”However, the public health sector in many countries is not investing in smoking-cessation services, and in most countries only limited steps have been taken to provide treatment, train health-care providers, and release financial resources. Smoking cessation is very often not seen as a public health priority, or included in governments’ tobacco control strategies,” Dr. da Costa e Silva added.The guidelines, developed by world experts at a meeting in Moscow last year, aim to provide countries with evidence-based material as part of WHO’s support to countries wishing to implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), unanimously adopted by the 192-member agency in May.Because of tobacco’s addictiveness, many smokers will need support to quit. Surveys show that about one-third of smokers try to quit every year. Those who try to stop using willpower alone have only a 1 to 3 per cent chance of long-term success. read more