Tobacco use is the leading preventable agent of death in the world today and is responsible for more than six million deaths each year.
Unless urgent action is taken to reverse this global epidemic, the World Health Organization expects that tobacco will kill as many as one billion people this century, taking a greater claim on human health than any single disease.
Because of population growth and changing patterns in smoking behavior, due largely to the tobacco industry's strategy of targeting young people and women in the developing world, about 80 percent of tobacco-caused illness and death will be in low-income countries. In addition to the high costs of treating diseases caused by tobacco use, including heart disease, cancer, and lung diseases, such as emphysema, and asthma; tobacco kills people at the peak of their wage-earning capacity. This deprives families of their breadwinners and nations of a healthy and productive workforce and adds to lost economic opportunities and a continuation of the cycle of poverty that exists in many countries.
WLF seeks to increase attention to the devastating effects of tobacco and reduce tobacco use in the developing world by supporting organizations active in all facets of tobacco control. WLF agrees with and supports the principles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the world's first international public health treaty.
WLF and Tobacco Control by the Numbers
- One of five global partners of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Global Tobacco Use funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
- Supports the Framework Convention Alliance, an international coalition of more than 350 tobacco control advocacy organizations that fosters collaboration and information sharing.
- Five international tobacco control resource centers established by WLF grantee, The Union–in Beijing, Mexico City, Moscow, Delhi and Cairo.
- National or sub-national tobacco control mass media campaigns launched in more than 25 countries: including China, India, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine, Brazil, Egypt, Philippines, Indonesia and Mauritius.
- Tobacco control ads message-tested for their ability to motivate quit attempts among smokers in 13 countries: China, Mexico, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Russia, Philippines, Bangladesh, Turkey, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria.
- A dozen reports published on the economics of tobacco taxation.
- Supported production of WHO's landmark MPOWER reports, the world's first-ever comprehensive review of how people in 195 countries use tobacco and what their governments are doing to reverse the tobacco epidemic.