WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
BENGALURU FINDS special mention in a World Health Organisation (WHO) report on tobacco control measures released Monday.
Hundreds of enforcement drives, putting up ‘No Smoking signs, and creating aware- ness about the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke resulted in a 27% reduction in smoking in public places in the city, the report said. Best NDA Coaching Lucknow
Across the world, there are 300 million fewer smokers today, with the prevalence of smoking declining from 22.8% in 2007 to 17% in 2021.
Fifteen years ago, WHO developed the MPOWER measures-monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; protect people from tobacco smoke; offer help to quit to- bacco; warn about the dangers of tobacco; enforce bans on tobacco advertising; and raise taxes on tobacco products. The report assesses the implementation of these measures.
What does the report say?
In the 15 years since the MPOWER measures were first introduced, 5.6 billion people in the world – or 71% of the entire population-remain protected by at least one of the measures. This has increased from just 5% of the population in 2008.
The number of countries implementing at least one MPOWER measure has increased from 44 countries in 2008 to 151 in 2022, according to the report. At least four countries -Brazil, Turkiye, Netherlands, and Mauritius have implemented all the measures. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
“WHO urges all countries to put in place all of the MPOWER measures at best practice level to fight the tobacco epidemic, which kills 8.7 million people globally, and push back against the tobacco and nicotine industries, who lobby against these public health measures,” said Dr. Ruediger Krech, WHO, Director for Health Promotion. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
With a focus on second-hand smoke, the report says that almost 40% of countries now have completely smoke-free indoor public spaces. Best NDA Coaching in India
The report has some bad news as well.
I there are at least 44 countries in the world that still do not implement any MPOWER measure. There are 53 countries that do not completely ban smoking in health- care facilities. And only half of the countries have smoke-free workplaces and restaurants.
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The director general of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, also flagged the dangers of e-cigarettes. In the report, he said, “But progress so far is being undermined by the tobacco industry’s aggressive promotion of E-cigarettes as a safer alternative to cigarettes. Young people, including those who never previously smoked, are a particular target. In fact, E-cigarettes are harmful to both the people using them and those around them, especially when used indoors.”
Why is it important to curb second-hand smoke?
The report focuses on controlling second-hand smoke (being in the presence of someone who is smoking) by creating smoke-free public areas and also de-normalizing the act of smoking in society.
Of the estimated 8.7 million tobacco-related deaths each year, 1.3 million are of non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke, the report says quoting the Global Burden of Disease 2019.
Second-hand smoke has been linked to almost 400,000 deaths due to heart disease, over 250,000 deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, over 150,000 deaths due to stroke and lower respiratory disease, and over 100,000 deaths due to diabetes. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
The report also adds that severe asthma, respiratory tract infections, and sudden infant death syndrome are more common among children exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 51,000 deaths in children and adolescents under the age of 20 years is linked to exposure to second-hand smoke.
What about India?
When it comes to India, the report states that the country has the highest level of achievement when it comes to putting health warning labels on tobacco products and providing tobacco dependence treatment. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
With 85% of cigarette packs carrying health warnings both on the front and back, India figures among the top 10 countries in terms of the size of health warnings. The cigarette packets in the country also carry a toll- free number for a quit-line.
India has also banned the sale of e-cigarettes, and banned smoking in healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The re- port ranks the implementation of these bans an 8 out of 10 in healthcare facilities, 6 in schools, and 5 in universities. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
What do experts say?
One of the biggest steps in the works is implementing warnings on OTT platform content when actors are seen using tobacco products. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
“This would make India the first country in the world to do so. And it is needed. During the pandemic, there was a huge increase in the number of people subscribing to OTT platforms. This content is also readily available to children, which means the warnings! have to reach them too,” said Bino Mathew, expert in tobacco regulation from the Voluntary Health Association of India.
He said India already has a comprehen sive law on tobacco control, but some amendments are needed in the 20-year-old legislation. “There is a need to ban the loose sale of cigarettes. Many people, especially college students, buy one or two cigarettes instead of the whole pack that might cost Rs350-400. This means they are not exposed to the health warning and quit-line at all,” he pointed out. WHO report on tobacco control: key findings, how India fares
Content is written by Prashant Sir WDA