Friday, May 29, 2009

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death

Papua New Guinea will join the rest of the world to mark the World No Tobacco Day on Sunday May 31.

The National Department of Health and the World Health Organisation and partner agencies observed the day today with various activities be staged at Tabari Place Boroko in Port Moresby.

The theme of World No Tobacco Day 2009 is ‘Tobacco Health Warnings’ with an emphasis on the picture warnings that have been shown to be particularly effective at making people aware of the health risks of tobacco use and convincing them to quit.

 More than five million people die from the effects of tobacco every year-more than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

It is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends.

Up to half of all smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease.

Second hand smoke harms everyone who is exposed to it.

Tobacco companies spend tens of million of dollars every year turning new users into addicts and keeping current users from quitting.

Through advertising and promotional campaigns, including the use of carefully-crafted package designs, the tobacco industry continues to divert attention from the deadly effects of its products.

More and more countries are fighting back against the epidemic of tobacco by requiring that packages of tobacco show the dangers of the product’s use, as called for in guidelines to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

They use the MPOWER technical assistance package developed by WHO to help meet their commitments under this international treaty.

Effective health warnings, especially those that include pictures, have been proven to motivate users to quit and to reduce the appeal of tobacco for those who are not yet addicted.

 Despite the fact, nine out of 10 people live in countries that do not require warnings with pictures on tobacco packages.

Nicotine is a highly-addictive substance.

Warning people about its true risk can go along way towards reducing tobacco addiction. Requiring warnings on tobacco packages is a simple, cheap and effective strategy that can vastly reduce tobacco use and save lives.


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