The Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific Region
The World Health Organization's Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) was established in 1998 to focus and channel international attention, resources, and action to reduce the global burden of disease and death caused by tobacco use. TFI provides global policy leadership, encouraging mobilizations at all levels of society, promoting the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
There are an estimated 450 million smokers residing in the Western Pacific Region, or about one third of the world's smokers. Compared to the other five WHO Regions, the Western Pacific Region has the greatest number of smokers and among the highest rates of male smoking. In the Western Pacific Region, it is estimated that two people die every minute from tobacco-related disease, and half of all men, women, and children are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke at home and in public places. It was estimated that in 2004, 13% of all deaths for ages 30 and over are attributable to tobacco use.
Through ratification of the WHO FCTC, all countries in the Region have an obligation to implement the international regulatory framework to control tobacco use. TFI in the Western Pacific Region has assisted countries in implementing effective tobacco control measures in line with the WHO FCTC based on the regional action plans in the past two decades. The Regional Action Plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific Region (2015-2019), adopted in 2014 at the 65th session of the Regional Committee, was developed in consultation with Member States to further accelerate the implementation of the WHO FCTC through sustainable systems for tobacco control.