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Tobacco Control & NCD Prevention

The Tobacco Control & NCD Prevention program advances global tobacco control, non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention, and reduces death and illness caused by NCDs, of which tobacco is a major risk factor.

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Sian FitzGerald

Sian FitzGerald is the contact for our Tobacco Control & NCD Prevention program.

Tobacco use is one of the single most preventable causes of death in the world. Given that people living with low-incomes are more likely to use tobacco, and can afford it the least, tobacco use can also greatly worsen poverty. Tobacco cultivation and use also harm the environment and contribute to climate change.

Tobacco use is the one risk factor common to four major non-communicable diseases (NCDs): cancers, cardiovascular and lung disease, and diabetes. The other major risk factors for these devastating diseases are: physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and misuse of alcohol.

NCDs are far from ‘diseases of the rich’: in many the Global South, the risk of dying from any of the major NCDs between the ages of 30 and 70 is double or even triple that in a typical rich country.

Fortunately, international research and experience has shown the most effective way to curb tobacco use: implementing the measures in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Its measures include raising taxes, implementing and enforcing 100% indoor smoke-free spaces, health warnings related to tobacco use, bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and helping smokers to quit. Full implementation of the FCTC will result in healthier populations and environments, and will help to eliminate poverty.

Our strategy is to support and promote policy-based solutions for reducing all NCD risk factors. We support long-term programs to build networks, conduct research, produce evidence, and advocate for change. Activities include research and education on the ways that tobacco and NCDs can worsen poverty and the impact of implementation of best practices on health and the economy; supporting partners and communities to implement best practice interventions; monitoring and exposing tobacco and alcohol industry interference tactics, and producing materials on tobacco control and NCD prevention, including transferring lessons learned from tobacco control to NCD prevention.

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Long-term support from HealthBridge has helped our partners in several countries work with their governments to ratify and implement the FCTC and create strong tobacco control policies; build local networks, and carry out research to strengthen the evidence base necessary for change. HealthBridge has supported the global recognition of the importance of including tobacco control and NCD prevention in national and international development plans.

HealthBridge is a founding member of the Vietnam NCD Alliance, established in 2015 to advocate for stronger policy and actions on NCD prevention including tobacco and alcohol control. The mission of the Vietnam NCD Alliance is to advocate, promote and support the 9 global targets for NCDs, with the vision that Vietnamese people will adopt healthier lifestyles and Vietnam Civil society will become a key force in promoting development and implementation of best practice policies in NCD prevention by 2030.

In keeping with our strength in alliance building, HealthBridge serves as the Secretariat for the Framework Convention Alliance, an alliance of civil society organizations working toward a world free from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and tobacco use.

Tobacco Control & NCD Prevention

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