On World No Tobacco Day 2023, ESMO published an editorial in ESMO Open entitled: Tobacco cessation and the role of ESMO and medical oncologists: addressing the specific needs of cancer patients in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The editorial supports a focus of ESMO’s mission to reduce the burden of cancer, which includes promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing cancer. As far back as 2008, ESMO published the ‘ESMO position paper: The perspective and role of medical oncologists in cancer prevention’, noting that medical oncologists should inform their patients about lifestyle and environmental factors, which include smoking, explaining how they can adversely impact cancer treatment and survival.
It is estimated that 2.5 million cancer deaths were attributed to smoking in 2019. The American Lung Association notes that “More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer; it's responsible for close to 80% of lung cancer cases”.
This editorial, co-authored by WHO, ESMO and Charité Berlin seeks to raise awareness of actions that medical oncologists can take to contribute to tobacco cessation.
The editorial highlights
- The need for oncology professionals to embrace the Health Professional Code of Practice on Tobacco Control, and serve as role models.
- The role of oncologists in supporting their patients and family members to quit smoking, as well as promoting smoke-free environments and the development of national tobacco control plans.
- That the topic of tobacco cessation is included in the ESMO-ASCO Recommendations for a Global Curriculum in Medical Oncology
- ESMO support for the development of the freely accessible ‘World Cancer Report Updates’ learning platform of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which provides “a reliable resource for ESMO members for evidence-based data on the burden of cancer, its prevention, modifiable risk factors such as tobacco use, and public policy recommendations”.
- ESMO as a key partner in the Europe-wide ‘Cancer Prevention Across Europe’ campaign (PrEvCan), led by the European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), in key partnership with ESMO, and around 60 other international and national organizations.
- The upcoming review of EU legislation on tobacco, envisaged in the EU’s Beating Cancer Plan, which ESMO is closely following and actively engaging in.
- The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2023. As the first international public health treaty developed under the auspices of WHO, and it “provides a comprehensive approach to reduce the considerable health and economic burden caused by tobacco”.
- The WHO Tobacco Cessation Consortium launched in 2022 at the World Health Summit hosted by Charité Berlin and the WHO.
About World No Tobacco Day
The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 and in 1988 passed a Resolution for its celebration every year on 31 May.
The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2023 is to “Grow food, not tobacco”. It is accompanied by a WHO report calling on countries *to stop subsidizing tobacco farming and support more sustainable crops that could feed millions”, considering that more than 300 million people globally are faced with acute food insecurity.