The World Health Organisation and partners marked World No Tobacco Day on May 31 to draw attention to the toll of death and disease caused by smoking. WHO recognize individuals in tobacco control and this year Professor Melanie Wakefield from Cancer Council Victoria has been awarded the WHO Director-General's Special Recognition Certificate.
The 2016 theme for is plain packaging and the World Health Organisation is encouraging governments to follow in Australia's footsteps by adopting the successful measure. The world-first laws introduced in 1 December 2012 require all tobacco products to be sold in plain packaging.
A recent Federal Government review of plain packaging found the laws were achieving their aims, which include reducing the appeal of smoking and strengthening the effectiveness of graphic health warnings. The review found that plain packaging is contributing to a decline in smoking rates across Australia.
Professor Melanie Wakefield, Director of the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer at Cancer Council Victoria, conducts applied behavioural research to guide the development and evaluation of population-focused cancer prevention programs, including mass media campaigns in tobacco control, skin cancer prevention, obesity prevention and to promote cancer screening.
The WHO award is a great tribute to Professor Wakefield's outstanding contribution to tobacco control, particularly around plain packaging. Research from the Centre is closely integrated with the Cancer Council Victoria program Quit, and provides advice and input into cancer prevention policies to governments at state, national and international levels.
According to the WHO, about six million people die each year from smoking-related disease.
More information World No Tobacco Day 2016.
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