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World Heart Federation: Copy Scotland, Finland and New Zealand’s Tobacco Goals

Update Date: Sep 10, 2013 12:37 PM EDT

The second annual World Happiness Report was released this week. The list ranks countries' happiness based on people's self-reports. By ranking 156 nations, the authors hope that countries can learn from one another and adopt better policies to improve the quality of life for their citizens. Although the practice of borrowing and then modifying ideas and polices from other countries is not new, the World Heart Federation has specifically pointed out three countries that the agency wants other countries to copy. According to the federation, countries should follow Scotland, Finland and New Zealand's goals to reduce tobacco use.

This recommendation comes after the Tobacco End Game conference started in New Delhi, India. The conference takes place this week and gathers countries together to discuss ways of reducing population smoking and implementing other measures from The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which is an international tobacco control treaty. According to the federation, Scotland, Finland and New Zealand have set the year in which they plan on ending tobacco usage within their nations. The years are 2030, 2034, and 2025 respectively. In order for tobacco use to be considered over, each country must have a population smoking level fewer than or equal to five percent.

"There is no hiding from the deadly effects of tobacco on heart health," says World Heart Federation President Professor K Srinath Reddy reported by Medical Xpress. "There are many countries across all incomes making great strides in tobacco control and it should be possible for each of these nations to further bolster their tobacco control efforts by setting themselves a target year for reducing tobacco use below 5%. So the World Heart Federation would hope to see these countries, followed by those around the world, following the brave lead set by the countries that have announced target dates."

Due to the fact that tobacco use is responsible for so many preventable deaths in the global world, the conference will discuss ways of reducing the mortality rate associated with smoking. At the conference, Finland's tobacco control policies will be outlined so that other countries can analyze why Finland has been successful with their maintenance of tobacco use. Over the years, Finland has implemented smoke free environments, higher taxes, reductions in the availability of tobacco products and increased protection of young children from tobacco.

"The Finnish experience shows how determined long-term tobacco control, combining strict legislation with a range of other activities, had resulted in a low level and continuously declining trends of tobacco use and the possibility to set smoke-free Finland as an official goal by the national Parliament. To reach this final goal further activities are planned both by Finnish government decisions and in interaction with the EU decisions," commented the federation's former president, Professor Pekka Puska, the director general of the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland.

For more information, click on the World Heart Federation website here

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