SUBJECT :No tobacco day 


With tobacco-related fatalities in Southeast Asia reaching the 150 per hour mark, the World Health Organisation today urged governments of the region to make plain packaging of tobacco products mandatory to reduce their appeal and make anti-product warnings more noticeable.

Of the 1.3 million deaths SE Asia witnesses annually on account of tobacco consumption, India makes up around 10 lakh. The Indian Council of Medical Research has now shown that 30 per cent of all 14.5 lakh new cancer cases in the country this year were tobacco-related. New cases would climb to 17.3 lakh by 2020 with tobacco contributing the maximum to the burden. The WHO accordingly noted today that tobacco use continued to be a major public health issue across the Southeast Asia with nearly 246 million people in the region’s 11 countries, including India, continuing to smoke tobacco and just below 290 million using it in smokeless forms.

“Tobacco is leading to the death of 1.3 million people across the region every year – the equivalent of 150 fatalities per hour,” the WHO SE Asia Director Poonam Khetarpal Singh said, asking Health Minister JP Nadda to make plain packaging of tobacco compulsory.

The WHO argued for plain packaging, saying the message that tobacco kills is not getting through and plain packaging can disrupt the psychology of tobacco consumption. Some countries have adopted the policy but India is struggling to implement even the rotational anti-tobacco warnings with the industry resisting harsher warnings.

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh