Tobacco consumption is one of the leading causes of premature deaths. It kills eight million people worldwide each year, mainly in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of the world’s smokers live. It contributes to the development of at least 20 different types of cancer – that’s about one-quarter of the total number of lives lost due to cancer.
Tobacco consumption and production also cause considerable harm to the environment, which is the theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day on 31 May.
What is the nature of these harms and how can the influence of the tobacco industry be countered? Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, highlights some effective tobacco control measures that governments can take, such as the generational ban on smoking that New Zealand has implemented.