According to The Lancet, leading public health researchers have called for the sale of tobacco to be phased out by 2040, showing that with ample political support and stronger evidence-based action against the tobacco industry, a tobacco-free world can be possible.

The international group of health and policy experts, which was led by Professors Robert Beaglehole and Ruth Bonita from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, call on the United Nations (UN) to lead a “turbo-charged” effort against the sale and consumption of tobacco. The announcement was part of a major new Series in The Lancet.

The Lancet news release notes that the Series will be launched in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, at the 2015 World Conference on Tobacco, which is a large gathering of tobacco control advocates, researchers, policy makers, and public health and clinical experts. The “turbo-charged” effort can be achieved by accelerating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in individual countries where implementation has been slow or incomplete, including tobacco reduction goals in the Sustainable Development Goals and for the UN to take a leading role in inciting global and national action to eliminate the use and sale of tobacco.

In a new research article also published in The Lancet, Professor Kenji Shibuya from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues show that although overall rates of smoking are slowly declining, the prevalence of tobacco usage is actually expected to increase in some countries over the next decade, notably in Africa and the Middle East, as noted on The Lancet news release.

In addition, as the world’s population is rising, there will still be more than one billion smokers in 2025, unless global action against tobacco significantly accelerates.

According to Beaglehole, “The time has come for the world to acknowledge the unacceptability of the damage being done by the tobacco industry and work towards a world essentially free from the legal and illegal sale of tobacco products. A world where tobacco is out of sight, out of mind, and out of fashion — yet not prohibited — is achievable in less than three decades from now, but only with full commitment from governments, international agencies, such as UN and WHO, and civil society.”

Source: The Lancet