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At the 70th World Health Assembly today Member States voted to introduce mechanisms for the strengthening of synergies between the World Health Assembly and the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. As part of the discussion at the Assembly, The Union read the following statement:

 

Official delegations from ten countries have called for tobacco control to be prioritised at this, and future, meetings of the World Health Assembly [WHA], stating that reducing tobacco use is central to protecting and promoting health. Mechanisms for ensuring that tobacco control receives due consideration during this forum were proposed.

 

Civil society organisations in Bangladesh are escalating their mission to prevent tobacco industry interference in public health policy. Despite making good progress in other areas of tobacco control, legal measures are not yet in place to stop tobacco lobbyists from influencing policymakers. Proponents of these preventative measures are making their case through research, advocacy and education nationwide.

 

The Philippines’ Secretary of Health has announced a significant decline in smoking prevalence as new data this week revealed adult tobacco use had reduced by almost 20 percent between 2009 and 2015. The steep decline – from 29.7 percent in 2009 to 23.8 percent in 2015 – was attributed to the high impact tobacco control policies established and rigorously implemented in the country over the last decade.

 

The Union joined international calls for the U.S. Ambassador in Viet Nam to reconsider the Embassy’s facilitation of meetings between senior members of Viet Nam’s government and Philip Morris International [PMI] as part of a delegation of U.S. companies organised by the US-ASEAN Business Council.

 

Partners in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use met in New York to kick off the new phase of this global public health initiative, and to strategise next steps for reducing tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries with the largest populations of smokers. Increasing tobacco tax and protecting policymaking from tobacco industry interference were set as top priorities for the next six years of the Bloomberg Initiative [BI].

 

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