No Tobacco Day: Unfiltered ashes, profane pleasures

No Tobacco Day: Unfiltered ashes, profane pleasures

Agency News

New Delhi, May 31: May 31 is marked as World No Tobacco Day. This year, the theme selected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is 'Tobacco and lung health' that focus on increasing awareness on the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health, from cancer to chronic respiratory disease and the fundamental role lungs play for the health and well-being of all people.

India is the second largest consumer of tobacco globally with approximately one-sixth of the world's tobacco-related deaths.World No Tobacco Day was established by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1987 to raise global awareness about tobacco use and deadly consequences it can cause.

According to the WHO, the tobacco epidemic is one of the significant health threats, as it kills up to half of its users. Tobacco leads to 8 million premature deaths each year, while more than 6 million of these people are smokers or ex-smokers, and around 890,000 people are non-smokers who were exposed to passive smoking.People die from tobacco-related myocardial infarction, stroke, cancer, lung disease or other diseases.

Nearly 80 per cent of the world’s 1 billion smokers live in low and middle-income countries. In some of them, children from poor families often work on tobacco plantations to provide income for their families. These children are particularly vulnerable to "green tobacco sickness" caused by nicotine, which is absorbed through the skin from the handling of wet tobacco leaves.

According to the WHO, the economic cost of smoking, including the medical expenses and productivity losses, is estimated at more than $1.4 trillion per year.In addition to health damage, the WHO notes that tobacco also has a negative impact on the environment. Tobacco waste contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, including carcinogens. Two thirds of the 15 billion cigarettes, which are sold daily, are released into the environment. Cigarette butts account for 30-40 per cent of all items picked up during coastal and urban cleaning.

Governments take measures to control tobacco use. These measures are formulated in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which entered into force in February 2005. Currently, 181 countries and territories are parties to the convention.

This convention is an evidence-based treaty that affirms the right of people to the highest standard of health, provides the legal basis for international cooperation in health care, and sets high standards for compliance with this treaty.In 2008, the WHO introduced a range of practical measures, the MPOWER measures, to scale up the implementation of the WHO FCTC provisions on the ground. Each MPOWER measure corresponds to at least one provision of the WHO FCTC.

The MPOWER package of measures stipulates the implementation of the following strategies: to monitor tobacco use; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit tobacco use; warn about the dangers of tobacco; enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products; and raise taxes on tobacco.

According to the WHO forecasts, at least 12 million current tobacco users in Russia are at risk of premature death due to smoking.The fight against smoking in Russia started 20 years ago, and since then smokers have noticeably lost their rights. The first federal law on imposing the restrictions on tobacco smoking entered into force in Russia in 2001. During its existence, it has undergone six revisions.

On June 1, 2013, it was replaced by a new federal law "On Protecting the Health of Citizens from the Effects of Second Hand Tobacco Smoke and the Consequences of Tobacco Consumption," which prohibits smoking in public places, tobacco sponsorship and advertising, as well as children’s involvement in tobacco use. Since June 1, 2014, the list of public places where the smoking is prohibited has been expanded.

In March 2019, the Russian Health Ministry introduced a new anti-tobacco concept to the government. The projects will last 11 years. It involves reducing tobacco consumption among the population to 5 percent and removing these products from the market after 2050.Statistics shows the effectiveness of reasonable restrictions in the fight against smoking. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), the number of smokers in Russia in 2009 was 39 per cent (43.9 million adults): 60 per cent of men and 21.7 per cent of women. By 2016, according to the same survey, the number of smokers was reduced to 30.5 per cent (36.4 million adults): about 50 per cent of men and 14.5 per cent of women.

Nevertheless, according to the country’s Health Ministry, from 300,000 to 400,000 people die each year from diseases attributable to smoking.According to the Russian Health Ministry, about 30 percent of Russians currently smoke, while the number of smokers in the country has decreased by 21 percent since the anti-smoking campaign started.

According to a sociological survey, Bryansk, Moscow, Krasnodar, Volgograd, and Ivanovo were named the most smoking cities in Russia in 2018. The top ten also includes such cities as Chelyabinsk, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Perm and Tambov.