Experts call for global effort to stop smoking
experts have called for a "turbo-charged" global campaign that could lead to a tobacco-free world by 2040.
They warn that despite the decline of smoking in the developed world, tobacco use is expected to increase in some countries over the next decade, notably in Africa and the Middle East.
With the global population rising, there could still be more than a billion people smoking in 2025 unless urgent action is taken, it is claimed.
The call to arms in the fight against smoking comes in a series of articles published in the Lancet medical journal and will be launched at the World Conference on Tobacco and Health being held in Abu Dhabi.
"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," said Prof Robert Beaglehole, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, who co-led the international group of public health and policy experts.
"A world where tobacco is out of sight, out of mind and out of fashion."
Global tobacco regulation should be "turbo-charged", said the experts, pointing out that falling demand in rich parts of the world had caused the "big four" tobacco companies to turn their attention to low and middle-income countries.
Their alleged tactics included industrial litigation, lobbying through third-party groups and covert political pressure disguised as "corporate social responsibility".