World No Tobacco Day
Every year 31st of May is celebrated as the World No Tobacco day highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
World Health Organization has been calling on the members countries to work together to end the illicit trade of tobacco products. Illicit trade of tobacco products is a major global concern, including health, legal, economic and corruption.
The illicit sale of tobacco may account as much as one in every ten cigarettes consumed globally. The European Commission states that the illicit trade of cigarettes cost the Commission and US over € billion lost annually in taxes and customs revenue. Illicit trade is not a problem just in high income countries but all the countries round the world are subjected to illicit trade in one form or another.
In order to combat the illicit tobacco trade , the international community has come out with various strategies which includes raising awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco on the health of the people especially the youths and low income groups as due to illicit trade of the tobacco products the accessibility and affordability increase due to low cost. The communities can show the health messages on tobacco control polices on cases of increased tax and prices , pictorial health warn- ings and other measures undermined by the illicit trade on tobacco.
In Bhutan the situation is not better either. Bhutan has stopped the sale of tobacco products since the Tobacco Control Act was enacted by the Parliament on 16th June, 2010. The tobacco control act of Bhutan bans the cultivation, harvesting, production and sale of tobacco and tobacco products in Bhutan. The acts also mandate the government to provide counseling and treatment to facilitate tobacco cessation and premised on the physical heath and well being of the Bhutanese people.
With the strong net work of illicit trading of tobacco products, the threat posed by them is enormous, risking the life of our younger generation. As tobacco is considered to be a potential gateway to drugs, our youths are at greater risks into taking hard drugs. The incidents of drug abuses are on the rise and tobacco control can have a great impact on saving the life of so many people who died due to drug abuse.
As we celebrate the World No Tobacco Day today with the theme “Stop illicit trade in tobacco products “we must pledge to stop the illicit sale of tobacco products and save our population at all times to come. Studies have shown that there is a direct link between the availability of cigarettes and high youth smoking rates. Our youth needs to be safe as they are the future of our country.