Brazil is one of the world’s first countries to achieve the highest level of the six MPOWER steps (see image below) for tobacco control. This means it has successfully implemented the best practices to fulfill the strategies advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO). Made public last Friday (7/26), in Rio de Janeiro, during the launching of the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, the result corroborates the country’s position as international reference in the fight against tobacco. This 7th edition of the report showed that from among the 171 countries that adhered to the WHO’s global measures, only Brazil and Turkey successfully implemented government actions. Read the abstract here (in Portuguese).
For the president of Fiocruz, this is the result and acknowledgement of an effort that began in the country in the 1990’s, with the collaboration of the Foundation. “Fiocruz does very important surveillance work on tobacco use, led by the Tobacco and Health Study Center (Cetab). We are also proud to have a researcher of the institution leading the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the WHO”, stated the Fiocruz president, Nísia Trindade Lima, talking about Vera Luiza Costa e Silva, chief of the FCTC Secretariat. Brazil is a member of FCTC.
The success of antismoking policies is the result of the acknowledgement of the hazards of tobacco smoking and of a deep cultural change. “It was only 50 years ago that cigarette smoking was acknowledged as lethal”, remembers the director of the WHO initiative for the end of tobacco, Vinayak Mohan Prasad, during the presentation of the report. The leadership of countries such as Brazil has been crucial for these results.
Since it began monitoring tobacco use in 2006, Brazil has reduced its smokers by 40%, from 15.7% to 9.3% of the population. This reduction is the result of a series of actions taken by the Federal Government. As for offering help to quit smoking, the focal point of the 7th report, the Brazilian Ministry of Health began its efforts and commitment in the 1990’s, when the National Cancer Institute (Inca) trained professionals in Brazilian states and municipalities to prepare them to provide treatment through the Unified Health System (SUS). Cigarette-smoking treatment is offered in more than 4,000 health units, most of them (91%) in Primary Healthcare, SUS main input.