Pharma, technology and social media companies join forces with WHO to launch the Smoking Cessation Consortium at the World Health Summit in Berlin, Germany

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus officially launched the Smoking Cessation Consortium, a group of private and public sector partners that helps people access essential cessation support and treatment to cope with tobacco addiction.

This business coalition will support WHO’s work on smoking cessation and identify mutually beneficial ways to expand tobacco users’ access to cessation tools and medications. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of working together and leveraging each other’s public health resources and work.

“The WHO Smoking Cessation Consortium is open for business. We work with private sector companies and other partners to help people quit smoking and improve their health. Immediately after quitting smoking, a person’s body begins to repair the parts damaged by tobacco – in just 2 to 12 weeks, circulation improves and lung function increases,” said Ruediger Krech, director of the department. health promotion at the World Health Organization.

“We are proud to be part of the launch of this Consortium to combat the global tobacco epidemic. As a company committed to advancing public health, we commend WHO for bringing together public and private sector partners to strengthen smoking cessation efforts. Together, we can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of tobacco users around the world,” said Thibaut Mongon, Executive Vice President, Global President, Consumer Health, Johnson & Johnson.

“In the context of a growing youth population and an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, the number of tobacco users in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase to 62 million by 2025. [1]. Without the innovative last mile interventions offered by the WHO Smoking Cessation Consortium, such as accessible digital tools, we will not be able to stop or even slow the rise in tobacco deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, said said Debbie Rogers, CEO, Praekelt.org.

Helping people quit smoking is essential to ending the tobacco epidemic. Smoking cessation is an essential public health investment. It saves lives, protects health and ultimately reduces government spending.

Globally, an estimated 1.3 billion people use tobacco products, and 80% of these tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related disease is greatest. heavy.

In Germany alone, where the Consortium was launched, 23% of the adult population currently smokes tobacco [1].

In the context of the pandemic, evidence has shown that smokers are at increased risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 and death.

When smokers realize the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit [3]. Latest figures show that 60% of tobacco users worldwide have expressed a desire to quit, but only 30% have access to comprehensive smoking cessation services.

The Consortium is based on five pillars and will focus on problem solving in collaboration with partners.

  1. Pharmacotherapies and supply – to ensure regular delivery of products and medicines that help people quit smoking
  2. Strengthening health systems – to ensure people get the support they need to quit smoking
  3. Advocacy and policy – ​​to speak to those in power and advocate for increased investment in cessation
  4. Research and development – ​​to identify new innovations and research ideas
  5. Digital and technology – to reach more people through digital channels and promote the tools developed by our partners.

[3] Intention to quit smoking and predictive factors among current smokers in Vietnam: results from the 2020 adult smoking survey: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1179173X221098460#table1-1179173X221098460

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