Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva is the head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat. She is a medical doctor with a Ph.D. in public health and epidemiology and an MBA for the health sector. For 16 years she coordinated the department of epidemiology and cancer prevention at Brazil’s National Cancer Institute and was involved in legislative, economic, surveillance and regulatory tobacco-control measures, the establishment of a countrywide tobacco control network and the introduction of tobacco products as part of the recently established health regulatory agency.
Enforcing an international protocol to end illicit tobacco trade is a critical first step to defeating an industry that causes as much as $50 billion in losses from government coffers and contributes to 6 million deaths from tobacco-related diseases annually. An op-ed from Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the WHO FCTC Secretariat, for World No Tobacco Day.