[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 6-Mar-2009
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Contact: Andrew Becker
andrew.becker@cancer.org
212-237-3899
American Cancer Society

New edition of the Tobacco Atlas catalogues catastrophic toll of tobacco worldwide

Tobacco projected to kill 6 million and drain $500 billion from global economy each year, more than 80 percent of deaths in low- and middle-resource countries

(March 9, 2009, Mumbai, India) Today World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society published The Tobacco Atlas, Third Edition and released an online version of the document at TobaccoAtlas.org. This comprehensive volume of research and its accompanying website graphically display how tobacco is devastating both global health and economies.

A $500 Billion Hole in Global Economy

According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco's estimated $500 billion drain on the world economy exceeds the total combined annual expenditure on health in all low-and middle-income countries. The economic costs come as a result of lost productivity, misused resources, ineffective taxation and premature death:

Burden Shift to the World's Poorest Countries

The Tobacco Atlas crystallizes an undeniable trend: the tobacco industry has shifted its marketing and sales efforts to countries that have less effective public health policies and fewer resources in place:

"The Tobacco Atlas is crucial to understanding the nature of the most preventable global health epidemic," said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D. chief executive officer, American Cancer Society. "This single resource can help advocates in every nation get the knowledge they need to combat the scourge of tobacco in their communities and on the worldwide stage. By utilizing the information in The Tobacco Atlas to develop public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and help people stay well, we will save millions of lives. "

"Common throughout The Tobacco Atlas is vivid evidence that the health burden is shifting from high-income countries to their low and middle-income counterparts," said Peter Baldini, chief executive officer, World Lung Foundation." The evidence presented herein and online, however, must do more than clearly articulate the scope and dimensions of the problem. It should be applied actively to strengthen the case for policy change."

The four authors of the publication bring together an impressive array of credentials and unique experience. Omar Shafey, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a medical anthropologist and epidemiologist, and an adjunct professor of Global Health at Emory University. Among many publications and studies, he was a coauthor of the second edition of The Tobacco Atlas. Michael Eriksen, Sc.D., is a professor and founding director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University. He has been a Senior Advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and was director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office on Smoking and Health. Hana Ross, Ph.D. is an economist and strategic director of international tobacco control research at the American Cancer Society. She is also deputy director of the International Tobacco Network (ITEN), a network promoting collaboration among economists interested in tobacco control issues. Judith Mackay. M.D., is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of Edinburgh and London, and a special advisor at World Lung Foundation. She is also a senior policy advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO) and a director of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control.

The new online version of the publication, TobaccoAtlas.org, enables policy makers, public health practitioners, advocates and journalists interact with the data and create customizable charts, graphs and maps.

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The Tobacco Atlas and TobaccoAtlas.org were launched at a press conference at the World Conference On Tobacco OR Health in Mumbai, India.

About The American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Founded in 1913, the Society has local offices in 3,400 communities, involving nearly three million volunteers across the United States and internationally. The Society's international work focuses on capacity building of civil society and on collaborating with other cancer-related organizations to carry out its mission across the globe. For more information about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org/international.

About World Lung Foundation

World Lung Foundation was established in response to the global epidemic of lung disease, which kills 10 million people each year. The organization improves global lung health by improving local capacity to conduct research, develop public policy and deliver public health education. The organization's areas of emphasis are tobacco control, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, asthma, and child lung health. For more information, please visit worldlungfoundation.org



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