Tobacco Free Pacific 2025

Overview of the tobacco epidemic

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is a major public health treaty that gives people protection from tobacco for the first time by setting international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, labelling, illicit trade and second-hand smoke. Countries that signed up to FCTC are obliged to ban advertising and sponsorship promoting tobacco products, not allowed sales to minors, force companies to print larger health warnings on cigarette packs, use taxation to reduce consumption and clamp down on smuggling. Effective implementation of FCTC has the potential to save over 10 million lives per year.

At the Tenth Pacific Ministers of Health Meeting in Apia in July 2013, the Ministers of Health as part of continuing effort to resolve the NCD crisis, adopted a Tobacco Free Pacific target (<5% adult tobacco use) for each Pacific Island country and territory to achieve by 2025.