Dr Swarga Jyoti Das
May 31 of each year is marked as World No Tobacco Day by WHO. It emphasises the risks associated with the use of tobacco for an individual’s health as well as the society. At the same time, it campaigns for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Currently, there are an estimated 1.3 billion smokers in the world. The death toll from tobacco use is more than 7 million every year globally, which is expected to be raised to more than 8 million a year by 2030, 70% of which will occur in developing countries. Tobacco use is a threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, and race, cultural or educatiol background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, depleting families and tiol economies.
Tobacco consumption continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the world. A large number of studies indicate a positive correlation between smoking and an increased risk of tuberculosis and mortality related to it. Though the exact physiological mechanism for this correlation is not known, it may be due to the fact that tobacco smoke leads to pulmory mucosal damage which makes it more susceptible to infection. It has been observed that three quarters of the tuberculous patients are smokers and half of the male suffered with tuberculosis died because of smoking in India. The tobacco epidemic has recently expanded among women worldwide. Studies show that women smokers are at four times higher risk of developing cervical cancer compared to those of non-smokers. Babies born to smoker pregnt mother are of low birth weight and premature, which is the foremost cause of infant mortality.
Furthermore, research has shown that cigarette smoking may contribute to idequate breast milk production, thereby affects the baby’s nourishment as well. Thus, the findings of these studies indicate an importance of tobacco cessation considering the future of our succeeding generations. The list of conditions caused by tobacco consumption has grown. It includes cataracts, pneumonia, acute myeloid leukaemia, abdomil aortic aneurysm, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, cervical cancer, kidney cancer, periodontitis and other diseases. These diseases join the familiar list of tobacco-related diseases such as vesicle, lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth and throat cancer; chronic pulmory and cardiovascular diseases, and damage to the reproductive system. Notably, we must keep it in our mind that those who consume tobacco are not the only ones exposed to its negative effects. Millions of people, including one half of the world’s children, are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke, also referred to as passive smoking. There is conclusive evidence that linking the passive smoking to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases in adults and respiratory diseases, ear infection and sudden infant death syndrome in children. Besides having a negative impact on diverse areas such as materl health, child mortality and morbidity, tobacco also has potential impact on the ecological sustaibility. Growing of tobacco requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. Tobacco manufacturing also produces more than 2 million tonnes of solid waste. Tobacco growing also results in global deforestation between 2% and 4% in each year.
It is observed that most of the tobacco consumers are socio-economically poor. Again, use of tobacco worsens the health disparities and intensifies poverty, as the less worth is available to spend on essentials such as food, education and health care. Around 80% of the premature deaths from tobacco use occur in low- or middle-income countries, thereby facing increased challenges in achieving their development goals. Despite of this fact also, the tobacco epidemic is moving towards the poorer and least educated worldwide. The tobacco industry also targets these countries. Since these countries are already flooded with the burden of communicable diseases, they with limited resources, are not able to afford to treat a population suffering from the consequences of tobacco consumption, in turn, negatively influences the tiol economy. Considering this real fact, WHO considered the theme for World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2017 as ‘Tobacco - a threat to development’. The theme of this year basically stresses upon the threats that the tobacco industry poses to the sustaible development of all countries, including the health and economic well-being of their citizens. Considering this, to call upon all the tions to form a tobacco-free world, either by committing to never taking up tobacco products or by quitting the habit.
Governments and legislators have an important role to play. Even within the government, ministries such as Fince and Trade, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, Customs and Education should be part of the tobacco control committee though it is usually coordited from the ministry of Health. Again, within the civil society, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), professiol associations and other organizations at large needs to be involved in the struggle against tobacco.
Tobacco-related problems and tobacco control cut across a vast range of health disciplines. Health professiols that comprises a wide range of professions, have a key role in battling the tobacco epidemic at various levels, mely at individual, community and social levels through by advice, guidance and answering questions related to tobacco use and its ill effects. They can also serve as a reference for the media to educate the public and to guide the policy-makers. They may also have an impact at tiol and intertiol levels through their associations in influencing policy modification for better tobacco control. There is a broad consensus that unless there is a multi-sectoral and multi-professiol involvement, tobacco control will not be effective. They have several roles in common and that work in harmony, where one role does not substitute for another.
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control guides the global fight against the tobacco epidemic. It is an intertiol treaty amongst 179 countries and the European Union (180 Parties). Through increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by US$1, an extra US$190 billion could be raised for development. High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to fince development activities. Again, Tobacco control has been protected in the Sustaible Development Agenda, one of other aims of which is to ensure that “no one is left behind”. Through implementation of this framework we may expect a tobacco-free world as well as a death of a threat which is interfering the development of our tion.