Progress Update: First WHO Smoking Cessation Guidelines

In the world’s relentless battle against tobacco use, a significant milestone is on the horizon. The first World Health Organization (WHO) Smoking Cessation Guidelines are taking shape, thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Guidelines Development Group (GDG). In this blog post, we delve into the recent in-person meeting held in Geneva and its outcomes, shedding light on the crucial steps toward finalizing these essential guidelines. We were proudly represented by Dr. Eduardo Bianco, Director of International Policy Education in Addiction for the Addiction Training Healthcare Professionals Program at the Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health, the delegate representing the Americas.

From September 4 to 6, the GDG convened in Geneva for an intensive in-person meeting to further advance the development of the WHO Smoking Cessation Guidelines. This diverse group comprised two experts from each region—mirroring the global nature of this pressing challenge. In addition to these regional experts, the GDG consisted of two coordinators along with WHO specialists in statistics and guideline development and the dedicated WHO Smoking Cessation team.


Months of prior online collaboration laid the foundation for the substantive discussions held during the meeting. The GDG members engaged in extensive and in-depth exchanges, meticulously analyzing various topics pertaining to smoking cessation. By harnessing the collective expertise and experience of the GDG, these discussions aimed to shape the forthcoming guidelines, ensuring their effectiveness and relevance in addressing the multifaceted dimensions of smoking cessation.


We are pleased to report that the GDG successfully tackled all the scheduled agenda items within the allocated time frame. The comprehensive nature of the discussions allowed for an exploration of the various aspects of smoking cessation. From evidence-based strategies to targeted interventions, the GDG left no stone unturned in its pursuit of formulating impactful recommendations to combat smoking.

Having completed the in-person meeting, the dedicated coordinators and the WHO team will now proceed to review and analyze the outcomes and insights generated during these discussions. Their collective expertise will be applied to refine and consolidate the latest version of the guidelines. Once this version is ready, it will be shared with the GDG members for their approval.

The WHO’s vision for the Smoking Cessation Guidelines involves finalizing them by the end of this year, with a subsequent launch planned for the following year. The imminent publication of these guidelines instills hope and anticipation, as they represent a significant step forward in the global fight against tobacco use. We’re proud of the contributions of Dr. Eduardo Bianco of the Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health to this global endeavor.

The recent in-person meeting of the GDG in Geneva marked a pivotal moment in the development of the First WHO Smoking Cessation Guidelines. The expertise and commitment demonstrated by the GDG members, along with the support of the WHO team, reinforce the significance of this initiative. As we eagerly await the launch of these guidelines, we recognize the collective efforts that have gone into shaping a document that will serve as a beacon for smoking cessation efforts worldwide. Together, we can look forward to a future where the detrimental impact of tobacco use is diminished, promoting healthier and more vibrant communities globally.

Seema Persaud