Experts Pitch for a Tobacco-free World by 2040

Is this possible? Personally, I don’t think it will happen. Tobacco will be a part of this world whether we like it or not. Just like death, there’s no way that anybody can do about making it disappear from this planet. The tobacco lobby is very strong. It has billions of dollars in its war chest ready to destroy  anybody who’d want to stop the industry.

What do we know about tobacco.

Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual plant that grows 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.  Tobacco smoking is a destructive habit.

A world virtually free of tobacco and its devastating health consequences could be a reality within 30 years if governments show political will and take stronger action against cigarette-manufacturing companies, health experts said on Friday. The international group of public health and policy specialists, writing in The Lancet medical journal, said sale of tobacco should be phased out worldwide by 2040 and call for a “turbo-charged” international effort against its use.

Smoking is a global problem.  It is estimated that 1 in 3 adults smoke, with over 1.2 billion people smoke worldwide. A billion people are forecast to die this century from smoking and other forms of tobacco use if control efforts are not to speed  up. More than 80 percent of those deaths will be in poor and middle-income countries. Smoking-related diseases cause an estimated 440,000 American deaths each year.

Robert Beaglehole of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, one of the experts, said in statement that, “a world where tobacco is out of sight, out of mind, and out of fashion — yet not prohibited — is achievable in less than three decades… but only with full commitment from governments, international agencies, such as United Nations and World Health Organization, and civil society.”

Describing a “tobacco-free” world as one where less than 5 percent of adults use it, he added: “The time has come for the world to acknowledge the unacceptability of the damage being done by the tobacco industry and work towards a world essentially free from the… sale of tobacco products.”

A 2004 study by the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion found that cigarette smoking contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer .

Tobacco kills some 6 million people a year worldwide, according to the WHO. And besides lung cancer, which is caused by smoking and is often fatal, smoking is also a major risk factor for a range of other illnesses. It is the world’s leading preventable cause of premature death from chronic conditions such as heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure.

The experts said that even a decade after the introduction of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), only 15 percent of people globally have adequate access to programs to help them stop smoking and fewer than one in 10 people are covered by tobacco taxes at FCTC recommended levels.

In the same period, 50 million people are to die due to smoking and tobacco-related diseases, they said.



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