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February 28, 1986

Who says tobacco's bad for health? WHO!

JAMA. 1986;255(8):1000-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370080018005

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has come out swinging—against "the use of tobacco in all its forms"—in its first official action of 1986.

WHO's Executive Board unanimously adopted a resolution condemning tobacco use as incompatible with the international goal of improved health for all the world's people by the turn of the century. Using WHO's primary, and almost only, means of leverage—attempts to influence world public opinion—the resolution also calls upon member nations that have not already done so to make certain "that nonsmokers receive effective protection, to which they are entitled, from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, restaurants, transport, and places of work and entertainment."

Discussion preceding the board's taking of the tougher stance included contentions that "the world pandemic caused by tobacco results in a million deaths each year and health authorities may be losing the fight they are waging against tobacco." Board members