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'Tobacco industry could be prosecuted for crimes against humanity'

February 6, 2017 01:14

Some 40% of smokers around the world die of tobacco-related diseases, from a large variety of cancers to heart disease and stroke.

Young men smoking near Ashdod

Young men smoking near Ashdod. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Prof. Judith Mackay, the British, Hong Kong-based physician who has been described by the tobacco industry as “one of the three most dangerous people in the world,” has suggested that manufacturing and marketing tobacco could be regarded as “crimes against humanity.”

Mackay, an international anti-tobacco advocate who has led a campaign against tobacco in Asia since 1984, appeared by video conference at the annual meeting, held in a Caesarea on Friday, of the Medical Society for the Prevention and Cessation of Smoking of the Israel Medical Association. Mackay said tobacco companies intentionally add substances to cigarettes that end up killing their customers. Some 40% of smokers around the world die of tobacco- related diseases, from a large variety of cancers to heart disease and stroke.

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Mackay works for Vital Strategies, formerly known as World Lung Foundation, to reduce tobacco use in low- and middle- income countries. She has published over 200 papers and spoken at 480 conferences on public health, especially tobacco control, and serves as adviser or is on the board of many international health organizations including the World Health Organization.

Dr. Diane Levin-Zamir, head of Clalit Health Services’ health education and promotion department, received an award from the society at the meeting.
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