Highlighting Role Of Air Pollution In Global Tobacco Epidemic Could Help Improve Tobacco Control Policies

The Lancet: Leveraging climate change to improve global tobacco control
Vin Gupta, assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development, and colleagues

“…How can progress on tobacco control … be encouraged? Perhaps if urgency provides clarity and motivation to act, one argument would be to focus on the persistent toll of indoor and ambient air pollution on the heart and lung health of citizens living in the very countries contending with refractory tobacco epidemics. The adverse effects on health of inhaling tobacco smoke and air pollution are well known, and some existing studies have shown that health outcomes … are far worse for those exposed to both risks at the same time. … Would highlighting the catalytic role of air pollution on worsening smoking-related health outcomes sway governments to greater action and implementation of the [WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)]? Growing evidence suggests data are there to buttress this line of advocacy. … Conceiving of tobacco use as part of a larger risk framework that incorporates exposure to air pollution is not only bolstered by a growing body of evidence but also imparts a clearer perspective on the risks of continued smoking in places like China, India, and Indonesia. We hope this reframing of the contemporary tobacco epidemic could serve as an additional lever for governments to re-engage with the many policy tools of the FCTC that we already know work well in bolstering tobacco control” (6/1).

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