Commission Report: Reignite the Fight Against Smoking

It is simply unacceptable that global consumption of cigarettes is the same today as it was 30 years ago. The International Commission to Reignite the Fight Against Smoking was established with the belief that efforts to prevent premature deaths from tobacco use require much greater imagination and ambition.

1.1 billion+

Over 1.1 billion people use tobacco1

8 million

Nearly 8 million people die each year of tobacco-related causes2

200 million

Estimated 200 million disability-adjusted life-years are lost3

About the Commission

Worldwide there are over 1.1 billion people who use tobacco. Nearly 8 million die each year from tobacco-related causes and an estimated 200 million disability-adjusted life-years are lost. The International Commission to Reignite the Fight Against Smoking was established with the belief that efforts to prevent premature death and disease from tobacco use require much greater imagination and ambition. 

The possibility of dramatic change has emerged, driven by new technologies that deliver nicotine without combustion. These technologies significantly reduce harm, so that smokers who are unable to quit can turn to alternatives that have a far lower risk of sickening or killing them. This approach, based on scientific research and supported by intelligent public policy, holds the best hope for finally ending the scourge of tobacco use—especially for those in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), who have been largely neglected by international organizations and their own governments.

The Commission Report offers facts, analysis, and recommendations aimed at reinvigorating a noble effort that has stalled, mired in an outdated paradigm that has been superseded by new technology, new ideas, and new concerns for neglected communities. The commission will also recommend a set of actions to accelerate an end to adult smoking and other toxic tobacco use.

tobacco use globally

Our Commissioners

Members of the commission, which was established to recommend a set of actions to accelerate an end to adult smoking and other toxic tobacco use, are from the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Indonesia, and India. The commission and its staff will release a report in September. Ambassador (ret.) James K. Glassman serves as chair of the commission and is joined by four other commissioners: Rosemary Leonard (United Kingdom), Kgosi Letlape (South Africa), Vivan Sharan (India), and Tikki Pangestu (Indonesia).

Ambassador (ret.) James K. Glassman, Chair of Commission, United States

Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Dr. Rosemary Leonard, Commissioner, United Kingdom

General Practitioner based in London

Dr. Tikki Pangestu, PhD, Commissioner, Indonesia

Former Director of Research Policy at WHO

Vivan Sharan, Commissioner, India

Head of Koan Advisory in India

Dr. Kgosi Letlape, Commissioner, South Africa

Ophthalmologist and health care leader from South Africa

The Commission Report: Executive Summary

The Executive Summary provides a distilled version of the Commission Report as well as recommendations for future action. Please select a language below for a printable pdf.

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global tobacco use trends

Report Highlights

1

Emerging Innovations

The effort to end smoking now has the most powerful tool in history at its disposal: technology that delivers nicotine without the dangers to health caused by the combustion of tobacco.
2

Focus on LMICs

Cessation efforts must focus on low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) and vulnerable communities in high-income countries, where most smokers live.

3

Role of Physicians

The history of smoking cessation underscores the critical role of physicians. Their role in cessation and tobacco harm reduction must be revived.

4

Role of Risk - Proportionate Policies

Public policy must enable smokers to switch to less harmful products and to quit completely. Risk-proportionate policies are the best way to reach that goal.

5

Ending Smoking Among Youth/Children

Young people must not smoke or use tobacco harm reduction products (THR). Technology must be deployed to make restrictions more effective. But policies to discourage youth THR use must be distinct from policies that encourage current adult smokers to switch to THR products.

6

Learning from the COVID - 19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new attention to public health, including its role in tobacco control. The success of the vaccine demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships and correcting misinformation.

tobacco leaves

James K. Glassman on the Global Health Perspectives podcast

Derek Yach sits down with James Glassman to discuss some of the facts, analyses & recommendations contained in the Commission Report: Reignite the Fight Against Smoking.

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The International Commission to Reignite the Fight Against Smoking was established with the belief that efforts to prevent premature deaths from tobacco require much greater imagination and ambition.

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