World No To­bacco Day ob­served on 31 May

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

World No To­bacco Day is ob­served on 31 May ev­ery year to high­light the health and ad­di­tional risks as­so­ci­ated with to­bacco use, and to ad­vo­cate for ef­fec­tive poli­cies to re­duce to­bacco con­sump­tion. The theme for this year is ‘To­bacco – a Threat to De­vel­op­ment’.

There are more than 7 mil­lion deaths from to­bacco use ev­ery year, a fig­ure that is pre­dicted to grow to more than 8 mil­lion a year by 2030 with­out in­ten­si­fied ac­tion. To­bacco use is a threat to any per­son, re­gard­less of gen­der, age, race, cul­tural or ed­u­ca­tional back­ground. It brings suf­fer­ing, dis­ease and death, im­pov­er­ish­ing fam­i­lies and na­tional economies too. In In­dia the es­ti­mated num­bers of to­bacco users are 274.9 mil­lion, where 163.7 mil­lion are only smoke­less to­bacco users. Each year, about 10 lakh In­di­ans die from to­bacco-re­lated dis­eases.

To­bacco kills ev­ery third per­son pre­ma­turely through can­cer, heart dis­ease, lung dis­eases, etc., putting a huge bur­den on our eco­nomic and health­care sys­tem. To­bacco is one of the pri­mary causes of can­cer, which is as­so­ci­ated with can­cer of re­s­pi­ra­tory tract, lung, up­per gas­troin­testi­nal tract, kid­ney, liver, pan­creas, uri­nary blad­der, cervix, etc. In­take of to­bacco causes re­s­pi­ra­tory dis­eases like asth­matic at­tack and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis. Smok­ers are at a great risk of heart at­tack. It can also ag­gra­vate ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions like di­a­betes, erec­tile dys­func­tion and rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

Yet, where there is a will, there is a way. The Frame­work Con­ven­tion on To­bacco Con­trol – to which In­dia is a party – ob­li­gates 180 coun­tries to in­tro­duce laws aimed at re­duc­ing to­bacco use. These mea­sures in­clude smoke-free pub­lic places, in­creased to­bacco taxes, large pic­to­rial warn­ing la­bels on to­bacco prod­ucts, and re­stric­tions on to­bacco ad­ver­tis­ing. In­creas­ing to­bacco taxes in­creases the price of to­bacco prod­ucts, en­cour­ages ces­sa­tion among ex­ist­ing users, re­duces the quan­tity of to­bacco con­sumed by users, and pre­vents ini­ti­a­tion – es­pe­cially among the youth and the poor.

So, while there are laws and poli­cies to con­trol to­bacco use, strict im­ple­men­ta­tion of such laws is re­quired. Ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness must start from the school level. Peo­ple should be in­formed ad­e­quately about the harm­ful ef­fects of to­bacco us­age.

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