Doctors Worldwide Take Action Against Tobacco
The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) will launch its Global Call to Action on Tobacco at the 16th WONCA
World Congress of Family Doctors scheduled for May in Durban.
The initiative will be spearheaded by the two co-chairs of the WONCA Task Force on Tobacco Cessation, Dr Michael
Boland, president-elect of WONCA, based in Ireland, and Dr Rick Botelho, from Rochester, New York.
WONCA as a professional organisation representing thousands of family practitioners worldwide, will call on its members to
support this initiative.
The WONCA Task Force will establish international and regional networks of family physicians and educators in family
medicine at the congress, to ensure that its message reaches all corners of the globe and that its aims are realised.
In addition, the Task Force will run a workshop at the congress to provide training for doctors in a sophisticated, motivational
approach to smoking cessation.
This simple yet innovative approach has been developed from clinical practice, research evidence and a range of theories and
models on health behaviour change.
In spite of a number of global initiatives, tobacco use remains the leading cause of death worldwide as statistics show that the
current four million tobacco-related deaths will rise to 10 million over the next 20 years.
What is particularly disturbing for Southern Africa is that 70 per cent of these deaths will be in the developing world.
South Africa has promulgated far-reaching and far-sighted legislation, aimed mostly at cutting down smoking, especially in
Tobacco companies can no longer advertise, nor can they sponsor public events. However, smoking is still on the increase
among young people and a substantial number of older smokers are resistant to giving up tobacco, despite the adverse effects it
has on their health.
Dr David Satcher, the US Surgeon General will give the keynote speech at the Congress on 14 May.