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People over profits

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One of the main risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is tobacco use, but if more global attention goes to NCDs will tobacco control be forgotten? This is a serious concern for many who know how difficult it is to convince governments to take serious action about tobacco.

As integration of tobacco control and NCDs seems nearly inevitable at this point, rather than fight it, it makes sense to identify strategies to improve the likelihood that tobacco control will remain an important priority – while also contributing to the larger picture of NCD control. I recently led a working group that produced a paper on the topic. It was published by The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and is available here:

HealthBridge also has a useful guide to the integration of tobacco control and NCDs called Broadening the Focus. Tobacco control advocates have learned a lot about fighting big corporations; it is time to put that knowledge and expertise to use in fighting some of the other big corporations that profit from selling products that cause disease and early death.

My personal hope is that someday soon soft drinks (including other sugary drinks), junk food and fast food will be treated like tobacco…a ban on ads, an understanding that one does NOT serve them in meetings, and growing realization that their manufacturers are spreading illness and early death.