UN Health Agency to help countries halt tobacco reign

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The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has  launched new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in saving lives by reducing the demand for tobacco and tobacco products – estimated to kill over seven million people annually.

The new guide together with an accompanying publication will help governments “do much more” to implement regulations and address the exploitation of tobacco product regulations, highlighted the UN health agency.

“The tobacco industry has enjoyed years of little or no regulation, mainly due to the complexity of tobacco product regulation and lack of appropriate guidance in this area,” said Douglas Bettcher, the Director of the WHO Department for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

“Tobacco product regulation is an under-utilized tool which has a critical role to play in reducing tobacco use [and] these new tools provide a useful resource to countries to either introduce or improve existing tobacco product regulation provisions and end the tobacco industry ‘reign’,” he added.

The guide, titled Tobacco product regulation: Building laboratory testing capacity, provides practical and stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing relevant to a wide range of countries, especially those with inadequate resources to establish testing facilities.

It also provides regulators and policymakers with comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful manner to support regulation.

The guidelines will also assist in the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – a global treaty combatting the tobacco epidemic – through strengthening tobacco product regulation capacity in WHO member States.