May 31st is World No-Tobacco Day (WNTD), and this year’s aim is to encourage abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption across the world for an entire day. Tobacco consumption is one of the biggest threats to public health and takes the life of 6 million people annually. It kills 600000 non-smokers who are affected by second hand smoke. This day spreads awareness about adverse affects of tobacco usage. This day is being observed from the last 26 years despite resistance from governments, smokers, growers and the tobacco industry.
WNTD was formulated by The World Health Organization in 1987. The theme for this year is “raising taxes on tobacco” thereby advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. understands that only 8% of the world’s population lives in countries with sufficiently high tobacco taxes and therefore there is need to call for higher taxes in tobacco products.
Some appalling statistics on tobacco consumption as per WHO are:
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- The annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030, unless urgent action is taken.
- Nearly 80% of the world’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
- Consumption of tobacco products is increasing globally, though it is decreasing in some high-income and upper middle-income countries.
- 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.
A majority of the smokers live in low and middle income countries and their premature deaths deprive their families of income, thereby raising the cost of healthcare. It is an impediment towards economic development which also pushes children to engage in tobacco farming and Beedi rolling as an additional source of income. These children often suffer from green tobacco sickness, which is caused when the nicotine is absorbed through the skin while handling wet tobacco leaves. Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd advocates for stronger legislative action by governments who must address issues of child labour, especially in tobacco farming.
India is world’s third largest producer of tobacco and world’s second largest consumer of tobacco. The nation needs to take some drastic measures to curb tobacco usage. The Union Health Ministry has roped in Rahul Dravid for its National Anti-Tobacco Campaign. India has played a crucial role in WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) negotiations and has been implementing strict measures to control tobacco usage. The ministry believes that anti-tobacco campaigns should continue till desired results are achieved. The target is 30 per cent reduction of tobacco usage by 2025. In order to achieve this some suggested interventions could include formation of a national comprehensive cessation service that is available to assist tobacco users to quit, and increased taxation on all tobacco products.
Rahul Choudhury – Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.