The End of Smoking in 2040?
A group of global tobacco health and policy researchers is calling for the sale of tobacco products to be phased out by 2040. The group writes in a three-paper series published in The Lancet that, with the backing of the United Nations and international governments, tobacco use can be reduced to less than five percent in just 25 years.
One of the study’s authors argues that the time has come for the world to acknowledge the damage inflicted by the tobacco industry and work to create a world that is essentially free from the legal and illegal sale of tobacco products.
Tobacco is projected to be responsible for a billion deaths by the end of this century if efforts to combat its use remain stagnant, so naturally, CASAColumbia applauds any resolution to curb consumption. (For more, you can read our blogs on the risk of e-cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s role in tobacco regulation and CVS’s decision to ban tobacco sales.)
Of the billion deaths predicted, more than 80 percent are expected to be in low- and middle-income countries, where the social and economic effects could be devastating in the years to come.
Hope is not lost, though. The researchers believe that a tobacco-free world in 2040 is “technically feasible” and could become “politically practical” with an increased global investment and accelerated action by the United Nations.
CASAColumbia strongly supports this vision, given our longstanding commitment to protecting youth from using and being harmed by addictive substances, including tobacco. As the tobacco industry is well aware, more than 90 percent of adult smokers start as teens. And to maintain a steady stream of customers, it is in the industry’s best interest to get people hooked on their products at a young age.
One of the many tactics the tobacco industry uses to target youth includes adding menthol to cigarettes or a large number of other flavors to alternative tobacco products. Since menthol cigarettes are favored by half of teen smokers, this tactic keeps Big Tobacco’s customer base growing. Furthermore, tobacco companies are also increasing their investment in the electronic cigarette industry.
CASAColumbia applauds and supports any effort to reduce the use of tobacco and other alternative tobacco products, particularly by more tightly regulating their production, marketing and sales and by implementing drastic improvements in tobacco use prevention and treatment.
Daniel Berkowitz, MS
Daniel Berkowitz is a Communications and Digital Associate at CASAColumbia