The World Health Organization issued a warning to countries around the world the urgency to crack down on smoking. Statistics show that up to 5 million people die each year from smoking and another 600,000 from second hand smoke. The unprotected populations from smoking bans and restrictions may ultimately see a rise in these numbers if nothing is done.
The WHO developed six strategies to fight smoking including high taxing of tobacco, banning tobacco advertising, and other precautions to eliminate second hand smoke. The strategies were introduced last year but 90% of the population still is without any sort of protection.
An article published by AOL Health and the Associated Press earlier this week states:
“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and WHO estimates that, unless countries take drastic action, tobacco could kill about 8 million people every year by 2030, mostly in developing countries.”
Unfortunately, people need more than fear of health risks to curb their smoking habit. Higher taxes have only been effective in Western countries and much more will need to be done, actions that are from the reach of the WHO. Representatives from the WHO stated: "People need more than to be told that tobacco is bad for human health," said Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative. "They need their governments to implement the WHO Framework Convention."
The WHO Framework Convention is a treaty created in 2003 to show countries’ active participation in the fight against tobacco use. The treaty at one time included 170 countries. Although in theory this convention seems to create a strong united force against tobacco, the reality is countries’ are in no way forced to follow through on tobacco bans and face no punishment if they fail to do so.
The historical health risks associated with smoking as well as new studies revealing additional detrimental effects do very little to stop smoking around the world. Is it the government’s job to intervene? As a preventative killer of millions of people it seems only right to regulate its sale and popularity.