CHICAGO—Calling for the eventual elimination of smoking, the American Society of Clinical Oncology assembled world leaders in tobacco control to urge governments and health organizations to renew attention to the “global health crisis caused by tobacco products.”

ASCO President Paul Bunn, a lung cancer expert and director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, unveiled the society’s new tobacco policy statement, which calls for the formation of an independent commission to develop a blueprint for worldwide reduction in, and eventual elimination of tobacco use.

“Our new policy defines our ultimate goal: nothing less than a smoke-free world,” Bunn said in an address at the ASCO annual meeting on June 2.

“As a lung cancer specialist, I’m sick and tired of watching cancer patients suffer and die from tobacco-induced cancers to fill the greed of tobacco companies,” Bunn said to sustained applause from the audience of cancer specialists. “As an American, I’m horrified that we are exporting this greed and death-inducing substance around the world.”

Joining ASCO in support of the tobacco control statement were Sir Richard Peto, of the Clinical Trials Service Unit at Oxford University; Nigel Gray, of the European Institute of Oncology; Dileep Gal, of the California Department of Health Services; Richard Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic; John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society and president of the International Union Against Cancer; and Rev. Jesse Brown, president of the Coalition for World No Tobacco Day.

ASCO’s policy statement calls for immediate
steps, including:

  • Increasing efforts to discourage tobacco use, particularly among the young.
  • Raising federal excise taxes by at least $2 per pack and encouraging states to consider tobacco taxes as a first resort in revenue enhancement.
  • Ensuring that tobacco settlement funds be devoted only to health-related projects, including medical treatment, biomedical research, and tobacco prevention.
  • Requiring disclosure of all ingredients in tobacco products.
  • Comprehensively reforming third-party payment for tobacco cessation efforts.
  • Further restricting secondhand smoke in any places where the public may congregate.
  • Supporting research into tobacco addiction, toxicities, and prevention strategies.
  • Enhancing global tobacco control including a halt to U.S. government promotion of tobacco products.

The full text of the ASCO statement is available at