World No Tobacco Day

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

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.

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