Tobacco Control and Sustainable Development: Shared Challenges and Future Opportunities

September 18, 2019

In recent years, scholars and public health officials have increasingly perceived tobacco as a threat to sustainable development. This article published in the Journal of Health Inequalities explores how stronger tobacco control efforts can contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. Most obviously, given that tobacco use and exposure account for over 7.2 million deaths annually, tobacco control is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being. However, the article also shows how tobacco is, among others, a driver of poverty and inequalities, a threat to sustainable economic growth, a challenge to the environment, and an obstacle to good governance. In effect, tobacco hinders progress on a host of other SDGs. The article also calls for greater cross-disciplinary thinking and closer collaboration between tobacco control and development scholars, which could be crucial in designing successful tobacco control interventions in low- and middle-income countries, and could help achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda.

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