The Center for Tobacco and Health Studies of the National School of Public Health (Ensp/Fiocruz) launched in October, with the support of the American Cancer Society and Inova-Ensp Program, the supplement Tobacco control in Brazil: the achievements and challenges of a successful policy, at the journal Cadernos de Saúde Pública. The special publication features 18 previously unpublished articles by national and international authors on the advances in tobacco control policies following the ratification of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005 and the obstacles created by transnational corporations to its success.
Smoking is one of the leading preventable causes of early deaths and inequality in health in the world; in Brazil, it is estimated that 156,200 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses.
The set of articles investigates in-depth the National Tobacco Control Policy (PNCT) and the magnitude of smoking as a public health problem in Brazil. The texts highlight the importance of Article 5.3 of the FCTC/WHO, which deals with the protection of public health policies against the commercial interests and other interests of the tobacco industry, and systematizes recent knowledge about the ways, good decisions, and obstacles to the conduct of the policy, considered worldwide an example of success.
“The PNCT represents a paradigm of the intersectoriality of an effective model that saves lives and aggregates countless actions. The adequacy of these measures can be evaluated by the relative reduction of almost 56% and 59% in the prevalence of smoking, respectively, among men and women aged 18 years and over from 1989 to 2013, by the trend in estimates of the percentage of smokers. We at Cetab have understood that it was important to produce a journal that would aggregate studies related to this policy from the scientific point of view, since, within the sphere of Fiocruz, we have the mission of generating knowledge to support the PNCT," said Valeska Carvalho Figueiredo , coordinator of the Center for Tobacco and Health Studies at Ensp/Fiocruz.
Smoking in Brazil and worldwide
Since 2005, Brazil has been a State Party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and the measure has resulted in a significant reduction in the prevalence of smokers and tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. However, the total cost - still underestimated - due to consumption of tobacco by-products in the country is almost R$ 57 billion per year, of which 39.3 billion are for medical care and treatment, and 17.5 billion for lost productivity. According to the National Health Survey, in 2013 15% of the Brazilian population aged 18 or over, 22 million individuals were smokers. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020 the number of deaths caused by smoking will be 7.5 million.
The editorial, signed by researchers Valeska Carvalho Figueiredo, Silvana Rubano Turci and Luiz Antônio Bastos Camacho, highlights the strengthening of integrated actions aimed at addressing major health problems such as the inclusion of the topic in the 2030 Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development of the United Nations.
"The production and consumption of tobacco products relate to various objectives on the Agenda 2030, especially those pertaining to the reduction of poverty and hunger, since smoking is a leading cause of health inequality in the world. In Brazil, the percentage of smokers among individuals with primary-level schooling or less is more than double that of university graduates", says the editorial.