This year's WNTD campaign highlights the power of plain packaging to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, neutralize misleading marketing.
Washington, D.C., 26 May 2015 (PAHO/WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is honoring two academicians from Canada and the United States and a nongovernmental organization (NGO) from Brazil as winners of the regional 2016 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) awards. Presented each year, the awards recognize outstanding contributions to advancing the policies and measures contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
As described in the WHO FCTC's guidelines, plain packaging restricts or prohibits the use of logos, colors, brand images and promotional information on packaging other than brand and product names displayed in a standard color and font.
"Plain packaging is an evidence-based intervention that can enhance the effect of the health warnings on packages," said Adriana Blanco, PAHO advisor on tobacco control. "This year's winners have helped build the evidence base on how tobacco packaging and health warnings impact tobacco use and how civil society can help to move comprehensive tobacco control forward, as happened in Brazil."
This year's regional winners of the WNTD awards are:
- Brazil's Alliance for Tobacco Control (Aliança de Controle do Tabagismo) is being recognized for its advocacy of plain packaging through media and social media campaigns, by lobbying the Brazilian legislature and by countering fallacious arguments put forth by the International Tobacco Growers Association. The NGO has mobilized civil-society support for plain packaging and other tobacco control measures among members of medical associations, cancer patient advocacy groups, women's health groups, and those advocating for sustainable livelihoods. The award will be presented to Paula Johns, executive director of the Alliance.
- David Hammond, professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Public Health and Health Systems, Canada, is being honored for his expertise on and advocacy for tobacco labeling regulations. He has participated as an expert member of the Advisory Group for Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products at the Australian Department of Health and Aging, as an advisor to the European Commission for Tobacco Products Directive, and as an expert witness on behalf of governments in litigations brought by the tobacco industry.
- James F. Thrasher, associate professor at the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health, United States, and visiting researcher and professor at Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, is being recognized for his research on tobacco packaging and labeling and the effects of media and policy on smoking-related perceptions and behavior. His recent studies have examined the impact of pictorial warning labels on young adult smokers in Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States and the influence of cigarette packaging on risk perceptions in Mexico, China, India, Bangladesh, Germany, South Korea and the United States.
The regional awards will be presented on 31 May during an event marking World No Tobacco Day at PAHO headquarters.
The FCTC was the world's first health treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO and went into effect in 2005. A legally binding accord, it commits States Parties to implementing a series of tobacco control measures aimed at reducing tobacco consumption and saving lives.
In the Americas, 30 countries have ratified the Convention, and a number have made significant progress in implementing its provisions, particularly smoke-free indoor public spaces and health warnings on tobacco packages.
Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills up to half its regular users when consumed exactly as the manufacturer intends. Worldwide, approximately one person dies from a tobacco-related disease every six seconds, equivalent to nearly 6 million lives lost each year. That figure is forecast to rise to more than 8 million people a year by 2030, with more than 80% of these preventable deaths occurring among people in low- and middle-income countries.
PAHO, founded in 1902, is the oldest international public health organization in the world. It works with its member countries to improve the health and the quality of life of the people of the Americas. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO.
— World No Tobacco Day 2016 (PAHO)