Earlier this month, we attended the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health , held in Cape Town, South Africa--the first time on the African continent. While we celebrated the effort made by the global community to implement the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) over the past decade, it was sobering to realize that a greatly intensified and sustained effort is required in the future. Business as usual will not suffice.
A new report on mental health in Ukraine offers a sobering picture of the often-ignored disease burden of mental disorders, which undermine human capital development and total wealth accumulation in a country. The World Bank Group estimates show that unaccounted “intangible capital” such as human capital, constitutes the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries, more than produced capital and natural resources.
"Sugar, rum, and tobacco, are commodities which are nowhere necessaries of life, [but] which are ... objects of almost universal consumption, and which are therefore extremely proper subjects of taxation."
- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)
World No Tobacco Day 2017 focuses on the links between tobacco use, tobacco control, and sustainable development. Does this mean that tobacco use is more than a public health issue? The answer is an emphatic yes, rooted in robust scientific evidence accumulated over the past five decades and country experiences worldwide. Let me explain.