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The report titled, Action on Smoking and Health: 50 Years Turning the Tide in the Tobacco War, 1967 – 2017, was released last week. “ASH was born in a spirit of defiance. Defiance in the face of a deeply entrenched and growing epidemic of disease caused by tobacco.  And defiance in the face of a powerful multi-national industry fostering that epidemic,” said ASH Board Chair Dr. Alfred Munzer.

Rather than focusing on tobacco control, the organization is now aiming to look at this problem from a different angle, the fact that these deadly products are still legally available for sale.
ASH was formed in 1967, at a time when smoking was common practice, especially amongst men. At the time there was hardly (if any), awareness about the risks related to the habit, and no regulations in relation to the consumption or marketing of the deadly products. Hence, the percentage of the population who did not smoke, including the younger generation, was still heavily exposed to tobacco smoke.

The ASH report points out campaigns and milestones such as banning smoking in certain public spaces. “When ASH began that campaign in the early 1980s, it was considered unreasonable if not impossible to expect a smoker to abstain from smoking for the complete duration of a flight. But ASH fought to protect public health, a fight that continues today,” said ASH on their website.

Changing focus from tobacco control to ending this epidemic

The organization pointed out that as smoking remains  “the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and around the world,” a lot still needs to be done to fight this epidemic. ASH said that moving forward, rather than focusing on tobacco control, the organization is now aiming to look at this problem from a different angle, the fact that these deadly products are still legally available for sale.

“Given all we know about cigarettes, one cannot help but wonder why such a lethal product can be so easily purchased almost everywhere in the world in the 21st century. Is it appropriate for large multinational corporations to continue to profit while pushing an inherently defective product on the global market? “Laurent Huber, Executive Director, ASH

“Given all we know about cigarettes, one cannot help but wonder why such a lethal product can be so easily purchased almost everywhere in the world in the 21st century. Is it appropriate for large multinational corporations to continue to profit while pushing an inherently defective product on the global market? How will we be judged by future generations if cigarettes are still pervasive by the end of the century?” asks ASH Executive Director Laurent Huber in the report.

 

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