To address the tobacco menace more successfully, there have been important, over-arching global efforts to promote tobacco control. One of the central initiatives to situate country-level efforts in the global context has been the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which came into force in 2005 and provides a systematic framework of obligations and corresponding guidelines to reach tobacco control success. The ratification of this international treaty is voluntary and draws upon the political commitment of signatory countries to develop, implement and enforce the interventions. As of late 2017, the treaty had 181 Parties. For many, it provides effective political acceptability to implement politically-challenging measures.
The implementation of key tobacco control demand-reduction measures (e.g., tobacco taxation; smoke-free policies; packaging and labeling provisions; marketing bans; and cessation programs) at the highest levels of achievement accelerated among the WHO FCTC Parties between 2007 and 2014. Effective implementation of these measures is significantly associated with lower smoking prevalence, which typically leads to considerable reductions in tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.
Global tobacco control also fits snugly into broader public health efforts, for example by constituting a major element of the United Nations’ efforts to address noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) around the world. The 2012 Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) recognized the enormous health and economic burden of NCDs on households and nations, and agreed to reduce deaths from four prominent NCDs (i.e. cancer, diabetes, lung disease and cardiovascular disease) [MAIN MAP]. The WHO created voluntary targets for prevention of premature deaths from these NCDs, which includes a 30% relative reduction in adult smoking prevalence.
Global tobacco control became even more salient through the integration of the WHO FCTC in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]. These goals not only reaffirmed the commitment of sovereign governments to fulfill tobacco control implementation for public health, but also for sustainable development. National planning to achieve these goals by 2030 provides opportunities for governments to demonstrate that reducing tobacco use is critical to achieving development goals and empowers them to incorporate tobacco control best practices into many development-related policies, paving the way to a tobacco-free generation.