Tag Archives: tobacco epidemic

Weak Tobacco Laws in Russia Increase Risk to Women and Children

Gregory Feifer, of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty recently published an article on tobacco use in Russia.

He pointed out how the current laws, and heavy regulation and taxes on tobacco products in the West have pressured many smokers to give up their unhealthy habit.

This has had an effect on big tobacco profits in the US causing the industry to seek out new markets to make up losses from the North America and European market.

The Wild West Meets Russia

In Russia, Gregory states this powerful industry is growing stronger every day because, “there are no laws against smoking in public establishments,” taxes are lower, and the attitude of the public is one in which smoking and being of independent character are one in the same. If you remember those old Marboro Man commercials, Russia is reminiscent of those days in the West.

Those who are familiar with the original Marlboro Man, David McClean who appeared in many Marlboro ads starting in the early 60’s died of lung cancer at the age of 73 after it spread to his brain and spine. His widow and son filed a wrongful death lawsuit again Philip Morris, Inc. His tobacco campaign was one of the most well recognized and successful ad campaigns in US history.

Marlboro Man David McCleanNow, big tobacco companies are using the same tactics and preying on the Russian public since they have lost a large share of business. They don’t even have to be creative in their efforts because the Russian tobacco laws and regulation are not in place to protect their citizens from the use of the same old ploys that worked so well in the U.S. and Europe for decades.

As laws here have become stricter large tobacco interests have stepped up their efforts to flood the Russian market and replay their old sales formulas.

Russian Smoking Statistics for Women and Young Smokers

It seems to be working as rates for smokers have risen each year in Russia, especially through targeting women and adolescent smokers.

The laws that have been put in place in Europe and the West, along with the extra taxes on tobacco products, and the new public emphasis on health have made a positive impact. They do help protect citizens from increased use of tobacco.

Russia, according to Gregory Feifer, needs to move forward more quickly to put laws in place to protect the public before these predatory companies become more powerfully entrenched. Soon Russia will be facing a serious epidemic if they aren’t already.

New Report on Global Tobacco Control Efforts

NEW YORK — WHO today released new data concerning tobacco control.

The data show that while progress has been made, not a single country fully implements all key tobacco control measures, and outlined an approach that governments can adopt to prevent tens of millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century.

In a new report which presents the first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, WHO finds that only 5% of the world’s population live in countries that fully protect their population with any one of the key measures that reduce smoking rates.

The report also reveals that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.

It finds that tobacco taxes, the single most effective strategy, could be significantly increased in nearly all countries, providing a source of sustainable funding to implement and enforce the recommended approach, a package of six policies called MPOWER (see below).

“While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more.

These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. Dr Chan launched the WHO Report of the Global Tobacco Epidemic at a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund the report.

“The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”The six MPOWER strategies are:

  1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  2. Protect people from tobacco smoke
  3. Offer help to quit tobacco use
  4. Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  6. Raise taxes on tobacco

The report also documents the epidemic’s shift to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur.

This shift, the report says, results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people and adults in the developing world, ensuring that millions of people become fatally addicted every year. The targeting of young women in particular is highlighted as one of the “most ominous potential developments of the epidemic’s growth”.

The global analysis, compiled by WHO with information provided by 179 Member States, gives governments and other groups a baseline from which to monitor efforts to stop the epidemic in the years ahead. The MPOWER package provides countries with a roadmap to help them meet their commitments to the widely embraced global tobacco treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in 2005.

WHO WHO is also working with global partners to scale up the help that can be offered to countries to implement the strategies.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, said the six MPOWER strategies would create a powerful response to the tobacco epidemic. “This package will create an enabling environment to help current tobacco users quit, protect people from second-hand smoke and prevent young people from taking up the habit,” he said.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Only 5% of the global population is protected by comprehensive national smoke-free legislation and 40% of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools;
  • Only 5% of the world’s population lives in countries with comprehensive national bans on tobacco advertising and promotion;
  • Just 15 countries, representing 6% of the global population, mandate pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging;
  • Services to treat tobacco dependence are fully available in only nine countries, covering 5% of the world’s people;
  • Tobacco tax revenues are more than 4000 times greater than spending on tobacco control in middle-income countries and more than 9000 times greater in lower-income countries. High- income countries collect about 340 times more money in tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.

Source: Press Release

Pakistan Takes Steps Toward Preventing a Tobacco Epidemic

Pakistan is one of 146 countries that have ratified the global tobacco treaty.

By taking this measure the country is making a great step forward in protecting the health and lives of its citizens from the tobacco epidemic.

Many countries around the world are seeing an increase is disease and death related to tobacco smoking. Hopefully Pakistan’s example will be noted.

Image of Big TobaccoFormally known as the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the treaty aims to reverse the tobacco epidemic by changing the way tobacco corporations operate around the world.