Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland’s appointment as Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998 led to a stronger global focus on tobacco control, and eventually, all noncommunicable diseases (NCD) and mental health. Since the adoption of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003, global health has turned toward addressing all NCD. I pose 2 questions. 1) What lessons can we apply from the WHO FCTC development and implementation processes to broader aspects of NCD prevention and control? 2) In retrospect, what could we have done better? I also propose 3 lessons: 1) it takes a broad-based alliance to make progress; 2) visible and courageous leadership matters, and is aided by financial support; and 3) in developing the FCTC, WHO focused on a few messages: demonize industry, tax, and regulate tobacco. We now need to broaden public and private players required for progress, use insights on levering market forces for NCD control, and build approaches that demonstrate empathy for millions struggling with NCD risks.
An analysis of how tobacco control can advance noncommunicable diseases and mental health.
This builds upon previous developments advanced by the World Health Organization in tobacco control and noncommunicable diseases.
An outline of lessons for accelerating progress through multistakeholder partnerships, bold leadership, and selected key messages.