Cigarettes and other tobacco products kill almost 6 million people every year. Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. As part of that approach, governments have committed to strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries to reduce the proportion of people who use tobacco.
On World No Tobacco Day 2016, the United Nations is lending its support to one simple measure with proven effectiveness in reducing demand: the plain packaging of tobacco products. As laid out in the UN tobacco control treaty, this entails restricting or prohibiting the use of logos, colours, brand images or any promotional information other than brand and product names displayed in a standard colour and font.
Tobacco use is one of the largest causes of preventable noncommunicable diseases, including cancers, heart and lung disease. It also diverts valuable household income. Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading labeling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.
On this World No Tobacco Day, I call on governments around the world to get ready for plain packaging.