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Tobacco Control

According to the Tobacco Atlas, tobacco killed nearly 6 million people worldwide in 2011. In the US, about 45 million people use tobacco products. Disease and deaths from tobacco are entirely preventable, and reducing harm is an area that needs continued focus. E-cigarettes offer a potentially promising means of further reducing tobacco use. Studies are needed to answer questions about untoward effects of e-cigarettes. While further innovation is undertaken to develop effective products, it is important to maintain strong corporate standards for quality, prevent marketing to children, and focus on reducing tobacco use.

The Vitality Institute supports smoking cessation efforts and using innovative nicotine-delivery technologies to achieve this. The Institute is studying the effects of incentives for smoking cessation with the University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) team led by Kevin Volpp, in the United States and South Africa.

The Evidence

Looking for the Next Breakthrough in Tobacco Control and Health

South African statistics on cigarette smoking suggest that there are grounds for some celebration on how rapidly consumption has fallen since the institution of anti-smoking policies started roughly 20 years ago. As with other countries,... More »

The South African Medical Journal | November 2013

Innovative Business Approaches for Incenting Health Promotion in Sub-Saharan Africa: Progress and Persisting Challenges

Non-communicable chronic diseases related to behaviors such as tobacco use, overeating, excess alcohol intake and physical inactivity account for increasing morbidity and mortality in South Africa. Over the last 15 years, Discovery Health, the largest... More »

Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases | October 11, 2013

Public Health Lives: Gro Harlem Brundtland

Health has been a deeply personal, professional and political dimension of Gro Harlem Brundtland's life. Her decision to study breast feeding while an MPH student at Harvard in 1964, or her desire to tackle tobacco... More »

Public Health Journal | April 18, 2013


The origins, development, effects, and future of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: a personal perspective

Worldwide, more than 1 billion people use tobacco, resulting in about 6 million deaths per year. The tobacco industry's documented history of subverting control efforts required innovative approaches by WHO—led by Gro Harlem Brundtland—including invocation... More »

The Lancet | January 22, 2014