Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a life-threatening lung disease that interferes with normal breathing – it is more than a “smoker’s cough”. According to the WHO estimates (2004), currently 64 million people have COPD and 3 million people died of COPD. WHO predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. Almost 90% of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where effective strategies for prevention and control are not always implemented or accessible.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was developed in response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic, with the aim to protect billions of people from harmful exposure to tobacco. It is the first global health treaty negotiated by World Health Organization, and has been ratified by more than 167 countries.
WHO also leads the Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD), a voluntary alliance of national and international organizations, institutions, and agencies working towards the common goal of reducing the global burden of chronic respiratory diseases. Its vision is a world where all people breathe freely. GARD focuses specifically on the needs of low- and middle-income countries and vulnerable populations.