WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and WHO Global Ambassador for NCDs Michael R Bloomberg at the 18th WCTOH.

The 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) saw high-level participation from Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health of South Africa, and Michael R Bloomberg, a leader in tobacco control and WHO Ambassador for NCDs, among 2,500 participants from more than 100 countries.

WCTOH was held in Cape Town, South Africa, and was the first time the conference was hosted on the African continent. It focused on discussions around taxation, industry interference, effective tobacco control policies, and common comorbidities, among other topics. It closed with 11 declarations affirming commitments towards better and more comprehensive tobacco control worldwide.

With a focus on tobacco control in Africa, the conference included Tshwane Mayor, Solly Msimanga, announcing increased commitments to make South Africa’s capital a smoke-free city during a session on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Tshwane, the metropolitan municipality that includes Pretoria and its surrounding localities, first announced new policies to strengthen smoke-free legislation in 2012.

The conference also featured updates on research into policy measures designed to reduce tobacco use, the interrelation between tobacco and communicable diseases, such as TB and HIV, and strategic considerations for the global tobacco control movement.

The 18th WCTOH will be held in Dublin, Ireland, in 2021.