The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Tobacco use driving NCDs in Africa

men smoking200pxTobacco use is helping drive NCDs in Africa (c) ZACATobacco use is a main factor driving non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly in Africa, according to outcomes from a multi-stakeholder dialogue hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The tobacco industry’s negative influence on policy making, and weak implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control were cited as some of the main challenges to stemming tobacco consumption.


The event, Today’s Risk Factors are Tomorrow's Diseases, took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, 18-20 March.

Around 200 delegates attended, including experts on NCDs and their risks factors, researchers and practitioners, senior government officials, consumer organisations, the food industry and other health stakeholders.

They noted that while industry-funded interference is increasing, tobacco control campaigns in most countries are grossly underfunded, and governments lack the capacity needed to put in place effective measures on tobacco taxes and prices.

Raising tobacco prices is widely considered one of the most effective ways to reduce consumption and dissuade young people from starting to smoke.

Along with tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity were cited as the major factors driving the NCD epidemic. All are increasing quickly in Africa.

During the event’s closing session Dr Janet Hunter, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Health of South Africa, urged participants to identify ways in their countries to facilitate national dialogue and promote awareness about NCDs’ risk factors.

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