The Global Cancer Ambassador for Ghana, Mr Jeorge Wilson Kingson, will this weekend leave Ghana for South Africa as a participant in the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) which is expected to from March 4-9, 2018.
The conference which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa is being held on an African soil for the first time. Pre-conference activities will start from March 3 to March 6, 2018, but the main conference will be held from March 7 to March 9, 2018.
This conference is being organized by the National Department of Health (NDOH) South Africa, in conjunction with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) and the Conference Advisory Board in collaboration with WCTOH.
The Conference will feature a breaking research on e-cigarettes and the impact of tobacco point-of-sale display bans as well as the growing trend towards flavoured cigarettes; and the financial impact of smoking on economies and individuals.
According to Professor Harry Lando, who is the Chair of the 17th WCTOH advisory board “The high quality of the science being presented in Cape Town comes at a pivotal moment in tobacco control.
“On the one hand we will see research being presented confirming the astounding public health progress made to eliminate smoking over the past decade but challengingly, we will also see research on trends that are currently shaping the future battle lines of tobacco control on a global scale,” he stated.
“For the past 50 years, WCTOH has been the premier international forum on tobacco control and this year’s event – the first to be held on the African continent – is expected to attract over 2,000 researchers, scientists, civil society, healthcare professionals, policymakers and media representatives from more than 100 countries. Tobacco use is the world’s leading preventable cause of death killing more than seven million people each year,” said Dr Flavia Senkubuge, President of the Conference.
A number of key sessions focusing on the upcoming challenges for tobacco control will also feature prominently at the conference. The opening plenary session, Priorities for Tomorrow’s Tobacco Control Agenda and Sustainable Development on Wednesday March 7 will feature Head of Secretariat for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva. And on Thursday March 8 – International Women’s Day – WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti will be joined by Dr Lorraine Greaves, Senior Investigator at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence on Women’s Health, for the second plenary which will discuss Women, Development and Tobacco Control.
While tobacco use is decreasing in many countries, evidence has shown that smoking rates in Africa are anticipated to rise dramatically. By 2030 the number of smokers in the region is projected to increase by 40 percent from 2010 levels, unless there is significant intervention. Africa continues to be aggressively targeted by the tobacco industry, as it represents an opportunity for considerable market growth.
“It is highly significant that the WCTOH is taking place on the African continent for the very first time – in many ways the region is a test case for the future direction of tobacco control and its ability in the coming years to rein in aggressive interference from Big Tobacco,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), the WCTOH Secretariat.
The 17th WCTOH is themed “Uniting the World for a Tobacco-Free Generation” with an overarching focus on expediting progress to reduce tobacco use in all populations around the world – using new research and innovative approaches in public health, as well as powerful but under-used policies, including tobacco taxation and those aimed at preventing industry interference.
Mr Jeorge Wilson Kingson is the Chairman of the Media Alliance on Tobacco Control and Health (MATCOH). In 2011 he was appointed by the American Cancer Society (ACS) as the Global Cancer Ambassador for Ghana following his consistent and profuse reportage on Tobacco and its concomitant diseases.
He has been working closely with local and international Civil Society groups that pushed for the formulation and subsequent passage of a Tobacco Control Legislation for Ghana. He has personally championed several advocacy programmes aimed at educating the Ghanaian public against Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
His participation in the 17th WCTOH is being sponsored by Vital Strategies.