понедельник, 21 июня 2010 г.

Fact sheet for world no tobacco day 2010

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on countries to protect women and girls from efforts by the tobacco industry to induce them to start smoking.
The organization released data that smoking and chewing of tobacco among women and girls is increasing in Asia and the Pacific. It is estimated that more than 8 percent of girls between 13 and 15 years of age, or around 4.5 million girls, are using tobacco products.
In observation of World No Tobacco Day this year, WHO called for comprehensive bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship to protect women and girls from deceptive messages that portray smoking as glamorous or fashionable.
Worldwide, of more than 600,000 deaths caused every year by second-hand smoke, 64 percent occur among women.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control calls for gender-specific tobacco control strategies and the full participation of women in tobacco control measures.
Empower and protect women from tobacco marketing and smoke
Women are at great risk
Tobacco companies are spending heavily on alluring marketing campaigns that target women.
Women are gaining spending power and independence. Therefore, they are more able to afford cigarettes and feel freer to use them.
Tobacco companies are investing heavily in the low- and middle- income countries, where most potential new female users live.
Many countries do not do enough to protect their people from second- hand smoke.
Many women do not know about the harm done by second-hand smoke, or feel as if they have no right to complain.
Tobacco use and premature deaths of women
Women comprise 20 percent of the world's 1 billion smokers.
Of the more than 5 million people who die each year from tobacco use, approximately 1.5 million are women.
If current conditions continue, tobacco use will kill 8 million people each year by 2030, of whom 2.5 million will be women.
Three-quarters of these deaths would be women in low- and middle-income countries. Each of these deaths would have been avoidable.
Disturbing trends on tobacco use among women and girls in the Western Pacific Region
Based on the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, it is estimated that 8.4 percent of girls aged 13-15 years, or around 4.7 million girls, in the Western Pacific Region use tobacco products.
In New Zealand, smoking among girls ages 13-15 years old increased from 23.9 percent in 2007 to 39.9 percent in 2009.
In Cambodia, according to a nationwide survey in 2005, 17 percent of women and 1 percent of men chewed tobacco.
It is estimated that more than a half a million middle-aged and older women in Cambodia chew tobacco.
The high prevalence of tobacco chewing is linked to the belief that this alleviates morning sickness among pregnant women.
In Palau, 53.7 percent of girls aged 13-15 currently use other tobacco products, including chewing betel nut with cigarettes, increasing the risk of oral cancer.
In Vietnam, it is reported that two-thirds of all women are exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
In China, where one-third of the world's adult smokers live and where more than 97 percent of those smokers are men, more than half of the women of reproductive age are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, which puts them and their unborn babies at risk.
The epidemic of tobacco use manifests itself differently in women than in men
The tobacco industry dupes many women into believing that smoking is a sign of liberation, and many women wrongly view smoking as a good way of keeping slim.
Women who smoke are more likely to experience infertility and delays in conceiving than those who do not. Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of premature delivery, stillbirth and newborn death and may cause a reduction in breast milk.
Evidence shows that women develop lung cancer with lower levels of smoking compared to men, and are more at risk of contracting the (more aggressive) small cell lung cancer.
Women who smoke are at increased risk of developing potentially fatal chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Smoking increases women's risks for many cancers, including cancers of the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, bladder, pancreas, kidney and cervix, as well as for acute myeloid leukemia. There is a possible link between active smoking and premenopausal breast cancer.
Many tobacco control strategies ignore women who chew tobacco.
Second-hand smoke is a major health risk for women at home and in the workplace.
In many countries, vastly more men smoke than women, and many of those countries fail to protect nonsmokers from exposure to indoor second-hand smoke adequately.
In many countries, women are powerless to protect themselves, and their children, from second-hand smoke.
Tobacco industry marketing endangers women
Advertisements falsely link tobacco use with female beauty, empower-ment and health. In fact, addiction to tobacco enslaves and disfigures women.
Advertisements lure women with such misleading identifiers as "lite/light" or "low-tar". A higher proportion of women than men smoke "lite/light" cigarettes, often in the mistaken belief that "lite/light" means "safer".

понедельник, 14 июня 2010 г.

Ethics Group Challenges FDA Tobacco Panel Members

Two panelists on a new federal advisory committee on tobacco product safety should be removed, according to a complaint by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

The New York Times reported June 7 that that group argues that the work of Neal L. Benowitz and Jack E. Henningfield on behalf of drug companies that make smoking-cessation products represents a conflict of interest.

Both men are members of the scientific advisory committee at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products. The panel met this week to discuss the harmful components of tobacco products, ahead of a full committee meeting in July to advise the FDA on whether it should regulate or ban menthol cigarettes.

Altria Group, the owner of Phillip Morris, objected to the same panelists in March, but the FDA rejected that challenge on the grounds that tobacco-cessation drugs were not part of the Center for Tobacco Products' regulatory purview.

"I really don't see any conflict," Benowitz said. "My involvement with pharmaceutical companies is aimed at reducing the risk of smoking, quitting smoking. The aim of the committee is also to reduce the adverse health consequences of tobacco use."

"We just thought the financial conflicts were clear," said Melanie Sloan, director of the watchdog group and former assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia. The FDA shouldn’t be exchanging Big Tobacco for Big Pharma, she said.

понедельник, 7 июня 2010 г.

Fight over cigarettes sparked riot at camp

HULU TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA - The riot that broke out at the Ajil immigration detention camp started over a pack of cigarettes.

An Immigration Department source said an argument broke out between a newcomer and another detainee who had been at the camp for some time.

'They were fighting over a pack of cigarettes,' he said yesterday.

'This led to the rest joining in the brawl.'

In the 9.15pm incident on Saturday, the 127 Vietnamese detainees had rioted and tried to escape camp but were thwarted by security personnel.

Eight detainees were injured and subsequently treated at the Hulu Terengganu Hospital.

'They attempted to tear down the main door at the entrance to escape, but were foiled because of quick intervention from Immigration officers and the riot police,' said Terengganu Immigration director Mahasan Mustapa.

The Vietnamese Embassy has been informed about the incident. There are 200 illegal immigrants at the camp.

During the incident, the rioters used combustible materials to start a fire.

Fire and Rescue Department officers in three engines from Kuala Berang and Kuala Terengganu prevented the fire from spreading.

The riot also caused a commotion when the remaining detainees shook the fence surrounding the camp and scared stall owners operating outside the compound.

Terengganu police chief Senior Asst Comm 1 Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said the riot was brought under control around midnight.

Tom Yam stall owner, Kharuddin Ismail, 53, who operates outside the camp, said the situation was tense.

He added that Immigration officers had asked the stall owners to clear the area as they feared the riot might spill beyond the perimeters of the camp.

вторник, 1 июня 2010 г.

A lifetime of ‘no tobacco’ needed

The World No Tobacco day is once again upon us to remind us politely that health is a concern of everyone. From personal physical fitness to the threats posed by growing global pandemics, all people share an interest in improving the well being of themselves and others.

Real, sincere and ongoing action is needed to achieve this, instead of mere rhetoric. The war against tobacco needs to be won, and not just fought, with renewed pledges; stricter legislation; innovative awareness programs; and the will to succeed in curbing the menace of tobacco.

It is easy to reel off statistics about the health hazards of tobacco consumption — tobacco consumption is a leading cause of death among Indians aged 30-69 and 1 million Indians die from smoking-related diseases each year in India; among all women, 11 percent (over 54 million women) use some form of tobacco; approximately 1 in 20 (or 90,000) deaths among women 35-69 years old can be attributed to smoking; tobacco use causes lung and other cancers, respiratory/heart disease, heart attacks, and other diseases; smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, increased blood pressure/heart rate and adverse reproductive outcomes; consumption of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy decreases gestational age at birth and decreases birth weight...... The list can go on and on.

But does it really cut any ice with the users? Perhaps, since the times of Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit seems to be the sweetest. So it is with tobacco and its many variants. Very often my smoker friends argue that the state has no right to take away their freedom of smoking or chewing tobacco. They should be free to eat, drink, smoke, whatever they like. Even if one concedes their argument about freedom to make personal choices, they need to be reminded that one’s freedom is only acceptable as long as it does not curb the freedom of others.

So the government has every right to curb their freedom of smoking in public places to prevent innocent nonsmokers from becoming victims. Even within homes, children and family members are, very often, subjected to passive smoking of their elders, spouses and/or other smoker relatives. So, all those who value their freedom to smoke, will have to respect the freedom of others too. Beyond this, we can let it be the smokers’ choice to lead a healthy life or inch toward disaster in isolation. We can only counsel such diehards, who are bent upon committing death by tobacco.

Again, the duty of the state is not merely to enact sensible laws for tobacco control, but also enforce them strictly — something which is shamefully lacking in India. We have wonderful laws, but just on paper. To find the ground reality, some students of Class XII of Loreto Convent College, recently did a random survey of the city of Lucknow, as part of their Environmental Education Project. They surveyed 200 persons (150 males and 50 females) of various age groups, and coming from different strata of society — from rickshaw pullers to executives.

They traversed the entire city clicking photographs of shops/kiosks selling cigarettes and other tobacco products much within 100m range of educational institutions. They searched in vain, for signage in schools/colleges proclaiming that smoking is prohibited in the premises. They examined the tobacco/gutkha pouches for the information printed on them, and even posed as customers and easily bought cigarette and tobacco packs, despite being less than 18 years of age.

I am tempted here to mention some of their findings, which point directly to the shabby manner in which the laws are enforced:

Although a large majority of the respondents (98.5 percent) had heard anti-tobacco messages on television/radio, yet more than 70 percent of the males and 50 percent females surveyed were found to be users of tobacco products.

Forty-one percent of the respondents confessed to have smoked in public places, but surprisingly 94 percent of the offenders were neither checked nor fined for this violation. More than 29 percent respondents said that there was no ban on smoking at their workplace.

Out of all the minors surveyed (males and females), 81 percent of the males and 33 percent of the females were tobacco users. 76 percent of the people felt that it was very easy for minors to buy tobacco. In fact, more than 51 percent of the respondents had bought tobacco products from minors, at some time or the other.

Seventy-eight percent of the people said that they had seen tobacco shops within 100 yards radius of schools and colleges. Out of the 36 city schools/colleges that the students personally visited, 30 had one or more shops selling cigarettes and tobacco products, in some cases right next to their entry gates.

Out of the 20 gutkha packets of different brands studied by the students, 7 were known to be regularly advertised on television, radio, cinema halls. Only 12 gutkha brands had mentioned some alluring descriptors. The nicotine and tar content was not mentioned on any cigarette/tobacco pack.