THE WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) Director General, Dr Tedros Adhomon has called for strict regulation and control of the tobacco industry so as to reduce tobacco harm which includes death and the risk of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), HealthTimes has learnt.
By Michael Gwarisa
The call comes at the back of revelations that tobacco currently contributes to not less than seven million deaths around the world as well as reports of increased tobacco uptake by under age children and young people.
“Enough is enough, we must not let the momentum slip. Governments and health organisations like ours are at war with the tobacco industry, and we will continue fighting until we beat Big Tobacco.
“If national leaders, health ministers, and finance chiefs ever wondered how far they should go to regulate tobacco products, Big Tobacco’s admissions, together with investors’ second thoughts, have provided an answer: as far as necessary. Governments face a moral and legal imperative to use the strongest possible measures to protect their citizens from tobacco,” said Dr Tedros.
He added that one way forward would be for more governments to implement commitments enshrined in the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which provides guidelines on topics such as tobacco taxation, public awareness and education, and package warnings.
“These measures have helped save millions of lives in the last decade, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in health costs.
“But more can be done, which is why we are calling on governments around the world to strengthen implementation of the WHO FCTC by accelerating action on the “MPOWER” tobacco control policies- measures intended to strengthen country level implementation of the WHO FTCT. Together, these frameworks represent the strongest defense countries have against the tobacco industry.”
Most Tobacco manufactures are moving towards making E-Cigarettes which are believed to be less harmful compared to combustible cigarettes.
However, governments around the world are struggling to endorse the Protocol to eliminate the illicit Trade in Tobacco products, which aims to prevent to prevent illicit trade such as smuggling. In Europe, only 33 countries have signed the protocol making it almost impossible for the protocol to enter into force as it requires seven more governments before it can become effective.
In Zimbabwe, high cases of Tobacco smuggling by individuals and Tobacco manufacturing companies have been reported.
Meanwhile, a high levelled United Nations meeting on NCDs is set for 2018, with WHO calling governments to come prepared to demonstrate their commitment to protecting people from ailments such as heart diseases, diabetes, and lung cancer by supporting stronger tobacco controls.