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Stop illicit trade of tobacco products

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  31 May 2015 12:00 AM GMT

By Ranjan K Baruah

We are aware of the impact of tobacco and its product on our life. Tobacco market is one the big market as there are more consumers and at the same time there is also an illicit trade related to tobacco which is more dangerous. The illicit tobacco market may account for as much as one in every 10 cigarettes consumed globally, according to studies, including information supplied by the global customs community. The European Commission estimates that illicit trade in cigarettes costs the EU and their Member States over €10 billion annually in lost tax and customs revenue. Illicit trade of tobacco products a major global concern from many perspectives, including health, legal, economic, governce and corruption. The tobacco industry and crimil groups are among those who profit from the illegal tobacco trade, leaving the public to pay the health and security costs.

Tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030. Tobacco kills up to half of its users and nearly 80% of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

Apart from direct or active smoker there are also passive smokers. In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including corory heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnt women, it causes low birth weight. Almost half of children regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke in public places. Second-hand smoke is the smoke that fills restaurants, offices or other enclosed spaces when people burn tobacco products such as cigarettes, bidis and water pipes. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

31st May is observed as World No Tobacco day by many organisations around the world. Every year, World Health Organisation and partners mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. This year the theme of the day is focused on ‘Stop illicit trade of tobacco products’. This year’s theme and goal of the day is aiming to raise more awareness against illicit trade of tobacco products. The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

Previous year’s Theme:

• 2014 - Raise taxes on tobacco

• 2013 - Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

• 2012 - Tobacco industry interference

• 2011 - The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

• 2010 - Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women

• 2009 - Tobacco health warnings

• 2008 - Tobacco-free youth

• 2007 - Smoke free inside

• 2006 - Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise

• 2005 - Health professiols against tobacco

‘Every person must have the right to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws protect the health of non-smokers. Over 1 billion people, or 16% of the world’s population, are protected by comprehensive tiol smoke-free laws. It is important to raise more awareness relate to tobaccos and its effects on our life. As this year’s theme there must be more awareness against illicit trade and government must take action against the same. Government, nongovernmental organisation, media, civil society organisation and individuals must stand against the negative impact of tobacco. Tobacco not only hampers individuals but it hampers families too. (With inputs from WHO publication feedback can be sent to and published on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day)

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