People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
At the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, governments across the world agreed to eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be met by 2015. All 192 UN member states and at least 23 international organisations have adopted these goals. The MDGs form the basis for global development policy, and have a large impact on public health policy because they recognise the close relationship between poverty and disease.
Tobacco use has an adverse impact on health, poverty, malnutrition, education and the environment and is relevant to almost all aspects of the MDGs. Focusing just on poverty, the consequences of tobacco use are highly significant for low- and middle-income countries. The diseases it causes and exacerbates – including cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes – kill millions of people in their most productive years; and money spent on addictive tobacco products is money not spent on such essentials as food, medicine and education.
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