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May 31 Celebrate World No Tobacco Day

In 1987 World No Tobacco Day was created by WHO, the World Health Organization.

With a focus on the negative health effects of tobacco smoking, the aim of May 31st is to reduce tobacco deaths each year.

Right now that number stands at about five million yearly. That number is expected to double within the next ten years which is pretty scary.

On this date WHO provides awards to individuals and organizations who have supported the cause of reducing tobacco use in exceptional ways.

We are looking forward to see to whom this year’s awards are given for their outstanding work to bring greater awareness to the world.

Ban on Tobacco Advertising

Just last year, WHO moved to lobby for a ban on tobacco advertising because of the obvious link between ads aimed to get young people to start smoking and ads that attempt to make smoking look attractive, appealing, or whatever motivator they can conjure up to market the poisons they package.

The Great American Smokeout is another world event, which is recognized the Third Thursday in November. Just in time for the holiday season. This is a gift that can keep on giving for it can save a life if a smoker stops in time.

This Years World No Tobacco Day Theme – Tobacco Health Warnings

pic-crushing-ciggysThis year the celebration is centered around warning people around the globe about the dangers of tobacco and cigarette use.

Attention is drawn to the practices that big tobacco companies partake to keep the smoking epidemic growing each year even though every year thousands of lives are lost due to the dangerous effects of smoking.

Some deaths are also due to second hand smoke, and links have been made to smoking during pregnancy and the negative effects it has on the fetus and baby.

Pass the Word – No Smoking!

On May 31st, take the lead and tell everyone you know to pass the word. One voice at a time may make the difference in someone’s life.

Watch this short video to see what the effects in just one year from the accumulation of tar in cigarettes.

 

EU Unsure About Regulating Radioactive Polonium in Tobacco

Traces of polonium present in tobacco recently raised questions at the European Commission, while traces of radioactive and other substances – such as radon, polonium and cadmium – contained in tobacco leaves open questions as to whether they should be regulated at EU level.

Following media reports about the dangers of polonium contained in cigarettes, the Commission is studying whether or not the substance should be included in the list of regulated ingredients, a spokesperson for the EU executive told EurActiv.

Radioactive Polonium in CigarettesUp until now the EU has regulated additional substances found in tobacco products such as nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide, but did not take into account the tobacco leaf itself, running counter to World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.

Asked whether such highly dangerous radioactive and poisonous substance could be regulated at all, the Commission official responded that this was a difficult question to answer.

Tobacco firms knew about the presence of polonium in cigarettes and the dangers it involved, but the results of the research were not published for fear of “waking a sleeping giant”, according to Monique Muggli of Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, quoted in the September edition of the American Journal of Public Health.

Polonium 210 is a highly radioactive substance which has been found to cause lung cancer in 90% of cases. It is this very same substance which poisoned former KGB agent Alexander V. Litvinenko.

Regarding the relationship between polonium 210 and the radioactivity of cigarettes, Muggli said: “The companies wanted to hide from that issue publicly. They continue to minimize the recognition of radioactivity in their products in smoking and health litigation,” quoted in The Independent, a British daily.

So far, the Commission’s tobacco legislation has set limits on nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide yields to be applied in all member states. In line with this, the EU executive is putting pressure on the industry to add more visual warnings about the danger of smoking on cigarette packets themselves.

Source: The EurActiv network

Related Links

EU official documents

Press articles

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

Smoking Associated With Both Anxiety And Depression

A new study indicates that smoking is linked to anxiety with depression, as well as to anxiety alone.

However, people who are depressed but not anxious smoke the same as any other smokers.

These findings come from a joint study from Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), University of Bergen and King’s College in London.

The link between smoking and anxiety/depression was most apparent among women and young people.

Data were collected from 60 000 participants in “Health Studies in North-Troendelag” (HUNT), a study based in a county in northern Norway.

Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that 30 percent of inhabitants in the western world smoke daily. Earlier studies have found that people with mental health problems are twice as likely to smoke as the rest of the population. Injuries to physical health after smoking are well documented. It is also known that smoking is linked to other psychological problems. Anxiety and depression are the most common complaints and are often both present in people who smoke.

Anxiety and Depression Most Common Among Smokers

Arnstein Mykletun is the primary author of the article “Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: Evidence from a large population survey: The HUNT study” published in European Psychiatry (see link under related articles). Mykletun is linked to the Division of Mental Health at NIPH but his main position is at the University of Bergen.

Depression is realMykletun explains that the study shows the strongest correlation with smoking when the subject is both anxious and depressed, next strongest with anxiety without depression and with a marginal correlation between smoking and depression without anxiety. There was no reduction in anxiety and depression over time after smoking was given up.

About the study:

  • Approximately 60 000 people in the age 20 – 89 years old who took part in HUNT were included in the study (HUNT has a total of 92 000 participants).
  • All participants were screened using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
  • Smoking was defined as daily use of cigarettes, cigars or a pipe.
  • 29 percent of participants said they were active smokers. A similar number said that they had quit smoking while 42 per cent had previously smoked.
  • 9.6 percent had anxiety, 4.9 % had depression, while 5.9 % had both, as defined by HADS.

Link to article (abstract): Smoking in relation to anxiety and depression: The HUNT study

Tobacco Deaths a Third World Plague

Facts tell us tobacco deaths on the rise and increasing in many countries.

Judith Longstaff Mackay, a senior policy adviser to the World Health Organisation, said cigarette markets were shrinking in advanced economies, but growing in developing states.

Tobacco-related deaths are expected to double to 10 million a year by 2030, with most fatalities in developing countries, says a senior World Lung Foundation (WLF) official.

“There’s about three million TB [tuberculosis] deaths a year, and five million deaths a year from tobacco,” said Mackay. “By 2030, that will be closer to 10 million, they’ll be doubling…and the major burden is on developing countries.”

Staring Contest by Cyril Van Der HaegenSmoking is a major cause of cancer of the lung, throat and bladder. Despite proof of the health risks, Mackay said more people were lighting up worldwide, with 1.64 billion smokers expected by 2030, from 1.3 billion today.

The American Cancer Society labels China a “ticking time bomb” with about 320 million smokers.

According to the 2006 edition of The Tobacco Atlas, published by the society, the four countries with the highest number of male smokers (who are the majority of the world’s smokers) were China, Yemen, Djibouti and Cambodia.

New Zealand Herald

Smoking Kills Millions Of People Around The World

Not Succeeding is a failure only if you do not try to quit smoking again.

Results from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that currently there are 1.3 billion smokers in the world.

The same data show that every 8 seconds somewhere in the world one person dies from the consequences of smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of premature deaths in the world.

Experts calculated that the number of deaths caused by smoking will increase by 10 million annually until 2020.

In Croatia, every third person is a smoker, of which 33.8% are men and 21.7% are women.

Smoking is often considered just a habit, but it is actually a much more serious problem.

Smoking is an addiction on three levels – psychological, emotional and physical.

The World Health Organization prepared an International Classification of Diseases which includes smoking addiction as a mental organic disorder.

How Does Nicotine Lead to Addiction?

Smoking ImagesNicotine has psychoactive effects.

It links to nicotine receptors in the brain, and in this way it increases the release of neurotransmitters, especially dopamine which gives a sense of pleasure. That’s why the majority of smokers feels satisfaction when smoking.

What are the Consequences of Smoking?

One of the most fatal results of smoking is lung carcinoma, of which one person dies every 30 seconds.

Around 90% in men and 80% in women of lung cancers are caused by smoking.

Smokers have 22 times greater possibilities of getting lung cancer that non-smokers.

More than 600,000 people die of cardiovascular illnesses that appear as a consequence of smoking every year.  Apart from that, smoking can damage sperm and skew DNA which can cause abortions or congenital deformations of the smokers’ descendants.

Also, sterility happens more often to smokers that non-smokers, because it reduces the number of sperm and the blood flow into the penis.

Making the Decision to Quit Smoking

The benefits of quitting smoking are huge and they are immediately visible. However, those who ask for expert advise have the best opportunity to stop smoking. Those who stop on their own, rarely manage to succeed in their intention, because it is an addiction that hits people emotionally, physically and psychologically.

Not Succeeding is a failure only if you do not try to quit smoking again – doctors say. That is why it is necessary not to give up. Seek support and beat the statistics before it’s to late.

Source: Antonija Zbiljski

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.

Protection Needed From Secondhand Smoke

“The evidence is clear.

There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke,”

“Many countries have already taken action.

I urge all countries that have not yet done so to take this immediate and important step to protect the health of all by passing laws requiring all indoor workplaces and public places to be 100% smoke-free.”

~WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan

Island with Clean AirFor example, in China it is difficult to find restaurants or any out door public locations that ban smoking.

Other countries need to beware that secondhand smoke effects the health of everyone including animals, plants, infants, children, the elderly, and adults alike.

Anyone in the presence of secondhand smoke becomes a passive smoker.

Prediction of a Manmade Pandemic

“Tobacco is fast becoming a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease,” says the WHO.

John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, has an even bleaker outlook. “We’re about to witness the largest manmade, tobacco-industry-induced pandemic that the world has ever seen.”

Definition of Pandemic from Wikipedia: A pandemic (from Greek pan all + demos people) is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through populations across a large region; for instance a continent, or even worldwide.