News
 International
   Global Views
   Asia-Pacific
   America
   Europe
   Middle East & Africa
 National
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Business
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Taekwondo
 Media
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 Cartoons/Comics/Humor
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Life
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Housing
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 Job
 English Teaching
 Translation/Writing
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Business
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Entertainment
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Community
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 PenPal/Friendship
 Volunteers
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
  Asia-Pacific
A Plain Face Can Take the Sheen Out of Deadly Tobacco Products
Special Contribution
By Shobha Shukla
Tobacco

Tobacco use poses the biggest threat to public health in the world today, even as more than 1 billion people consume it globally. It is the leading preventable cause of premature deaths worldwide, killing more than 6 million people each year, and is a risk factor for 6 of the world’s 8 leading causes of death.

It is also the greatest preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, etc - which account for 63% of all premature deaths. According to the Tobacco Atlas 2015 tobacco consumption costs the global economy over US$1 trillion and may have an economic impact of as much as US$2.1 trillion.

At the recent Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2016) Dr Prakit Vathesatigkit, Executive Secretary of Action on Smoking and Health Foundation of Thailand, had said that an estimated 23% of all lung cancer deaths in the ASEAN region are due to smoking, and that tobacco control is the most cost effective way to reduce not only lung cancer but other NCDs as well.

Plain packaging

World No Tobacco Day, that takes place on May 31 each year, highlights the devastating impact of tobacco use on health, as well as advocates for policies that help people quit tobacco use and discourage non-users from starting. This year’s World No Tobacco Day theme is ‘Get ready for plain packaging’.

Tobacco package design is particularly effective at influencing consumers’ decisions to buy (or not buy) tobacco products. For the tobacco industry it acts like a mobile billboard promoting consumption of tobacco products by making them look more attractive, distracting users from health warnings and deceiving people into thinking that some products are less harmful than others. Plain packaging, on the other hand, makes tobacco products less attractive and directly informs the users of the negative health effects of tobacco use with a graphic picture and health warning. In this context, plain packaging is particularly threatening to the long-term growth of the tobacco industry.

Plain packaging means having packs of a standardized unappealing colour, and large graphic pictorial and text health warnings, sans any branding. It prohibits the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and products names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

In a World No Tobacco Day (WNTD 2016) webinar organised by CNS (Citizen News Service), Dr Tara Singh Bam, Regional Advisor (Tobacco Control - Asia Pacific) at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), said that there are only two ways to reduce tobacco use - preventing youth from starting to use tobacco and encouraging/helping users to quit. He reiterated the benefits of plain packaging - "It reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products; eliminates the effects of tobacco packaging as a form of advertising and promotion; addresses package design techniques that may suggests that some products are less harmful than others; and increases the noticeability and effectiveness of health warnings."

Graphic/pictorial health warnings too are forceful for keeping tobacco use low, especially among young people. Studies in Canada, Brazil, Singapore, and Thailand have shown that graphic warnings have educated smokers on the specific harms of tobacco use and influenced them to consider quitting. Plain packaging, coupled with pictorial/graphic and text health warnings, thus becomes a very formidable tool to thwart the tobacco industry’s nefarious designs.

Australia became the first country in December 2012 to go for plain packaging of all tobacco products with graphic health warnings covering over 50% of main display areas. Thereafter, smoking rates in the country fell at a fast pace. The number of adolescents currently smoking reduced by more than 70% - from 23.5% in 1996 to 6.7% in 2014.

More recently, Ireland, the UK, and France have passed laws to implement plain packaging from May 2016. Dr Bam informed that Nepal, which has already implemented 90% pictorial warnings, could be the first country in the South Asia region to adopt plain packaging very soon.

Dr Bam lauded some recent public health wins against the tobacco industry:

* UK- On May 19, 2016, the UK High Court ruled in favour of plain tobacco packaging, upholding rules that ban branding and require graphic health warnings across 65% of the front and back surfaces, with written warnings down each side. The judge rejected legal grounds for challenge from British American Tobacco, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands.

* European Union (EU)- On May 4, 2016, tobacco companies lost a legal challenge against EU rules that force them to put graphic images on cigarette packages warning people of the dangers of smoking

* India-

(i) On March 8, the Supreme Court issued notice to the Health Ministry on a PIL which sought immediate implementation of plain packaging rules for cigarette and other tobacco products

(ii) On May 4, the Supreme Court gave a ruling for introducing 85% pictorial health warnings on all tobacco product packs, turning down the manufacturers’ plea to stay the implementation of the new cigarette packaging rules.

What next?

180 nations are already party to the global tobacco treaty— WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) - whose Article 11 requires the implementation of strong pack warnings and the ban of misleading descriptors such as low tar, light, and ‘mild’. Also its Article 5.3 recognizes that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict of interest between tobacco industry and public health policy and commits governments to firewall health policy from industry capture.

In the post 2015 development agenda, action on WHO FCTC is now among the world’s top development priorities. Our governments have already committed to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) as envisaged in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development that was adopted at the UN Summit in September 2015. One of these (SDG 3.a) is to strengthen the implementation of WHO FCTC in all countries.

While commitments are in place, concrete action is lagging behind. Governments will meet at the forthcoming 7th session of the FCTC Conference of the Parties (COP7) that will take place in India in November, 2016 to discuss progress on WHO FCTC implementation and adopt decisions to guide global tobacco control for the next two years to ensure that the implementation of WHO FCTC is on track for the world to meet the SDG targets by 2030.

Strong tobacco control legislation is an absolute necessity to reverse the global growth of tobacco use, and achieve the health targets prescribed in the SDGs. Fully implementing domestic tobacco control laws and WHO FCTC on the ground is a public health and social justice imperative. To quote the Tobacco Atlas- “We stand at a crossroads of the tobacco epidemic, with the future in our hands. We can choose to stand aside and take weak and ineffective measures, or instead implement robust and enduring measures to protect the health and wealth of nations.”



Related Articles
    Stop This Shaming of Menstruation
    Complacency Breeds Failure: Consolidate ...
    For Age Is Opportunity No Less Than Youth ...
    New Study Pegs the Number of TB Cases in India ...
    Self-stigma: Let Us Do More Than Just "Ttalk ...
    We Cannot Eliminate TB If We Leave Children ...
    MDR-TB Treatment Rgimen: Short Indeed Is ...
    Strike at the Root of the Problem to Kill TB
    Antibiotic Use Is Driving Antibiotic Resistance
    Big Push for Transgender and Hijra Welfare
    Where There Is a Will There Is a Way: Teeja ...
    Lung Cancer: Difficult to Diagnose, Difficult ...
    Long Road to Justice: Human Rights of Female ...
    Medical Malpractices: Is There Light at the ...
    Overcoming Roadblocks in Translating ...
    Management of Respiratory Diseases beyond ...
    Gender Justice to Be at the Heart of ...
    Connecting the Dots: Tobacco Use, Diabetes, ...
    It Is Time To Control Asthma
    Call for No More New HIV Infected Children
    Smoking Goes Electronic
    Break the Silence around Cancer
    How Can You Treat Your Illness Unless You Take ...
    Asthma Medicines Still Unaffordable for Many
    New Technique to Prevent Diabetic Lower-Limb ...
    Cycle Beads: The Bead String for Family ...
    Beware: All Forms of Tobacco Are Harmful!
    Mother's Milk Is the Best Nutrition for the ...
    Where Is The TB Quilt, Nay Mask?
    Hello, This Is Nature’s Call From Garbage ...
    Tuberculosis: Ugly Scar on Beautiful Childhood
    Towards A More Enabling Environment for ...
    What’s Cooking in Kitchen: Peace or Conflict?
    Feed Your Child Well: Prevent Pneumonia
    Costly Medicines Mean Debt or Death for People ...
    AIDS Epidemic at a Critical Juncture in ...
    Watch Your Tongue Mr. Minister!
    Free Trade Agreements: A Threat To People's ...
    In The Pursuit Of Healthy Happiness
    Empowering Rural Women
    Say Yes To Life: Say No To Tobacco
    Homophobia Is A Human Rights Issue
    Viva La Woman Power
    Rubbish Rubbish Food and Embrace Healthy ...
    Of Music and Divinity
    Wake Up Call on Childhood Obesity after Years ...
    A New Hope of Life for Our Ailing Education ...
    Reminiscences of Egypt
    Do Not Break the Nucleus
    Whispers of Sanity in the Frenzy of Madness
    Tobacco Cessation Can Piggy-back Ride on ...
    In The Spirit Of Freedom (from Tobacco)
    World Conference on Tobacco or Health to ...
    Requiem for Purity
    Rhapsody 2008 -- a Symphony of Different ...
    'Diabetes Doctor Is at Your Doorstep' in ...
    Activists Decry India's Deferment of Pictorial ...
    South-East Asian Diabetes Summit to Open Up in ...
    Special on Universal Children's Day
    Whither The Light of Democracy
    The Wrath Of God
    World Food Scarcity and the Challenges of ...
    Victim of Terrorism -- the Common Man
    Teachers' Day: The Sacrificial Goat
    Hiroshima Day: Let Us Worship Peace and Shun ...
    Whither the Innocence of Childhood?
    Food for Thought -- on World Food Day
    Love Is the Missing Link in War-on-Terror
    Irom Sharmila: The Iron Lady
    India Poised And Shining
    Is It Just Another Day in Life of Indian Woman?
    He Has His Cake and Eats It Too
    To Be Young, to Be Married, and to Be in India
    The Mad Mad World of Ads

Other Articles by Shobha Shukla
    Where There Is a Will There Is a Way: Teeja ...
    Long Road to Justice: Human Rights of Female ...
    What’s Cooking in Kitchen: Peace or ...
    Watch Your Tongue Mr. Minister!
    Free Trade Agreements: A Threat To People's ...


Ms. Shobha Shukla has been teaching Physics at India's noted Loreto Convent, and has written for The Hindustan Times and Women's Era in the past. She serves as Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She can be contacted at shobha1shukla@yahoo.co.in)

 

back

 

 

 

The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 02-555-6188 Email:seoultimes@gmail.com
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange