WHO Urges Health Warnings On Cigarette Packs
Health & Medicine
July 9, 2011
The World Health Organization on Friday urged Asia-Pacific countries to increase the use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.
AsianScientist (Jul. 9, 2011) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged Asia-Pacific countries to increase the use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packs.
This move, says the WHO, would help to convince smokers to quit and to discourage young people from taking up the habit.
In a statement marking the release of the 2011 WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific, said:
“People have a fundamental right to information about the harm that tobacco does, and countries have an obligation to provide it.”
All 173 parties of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) have agreed to the convention’s guidelines, which include putting graphic health warnings on cigarette packs – typically pictures of diseased organs or large written warnings.
However, the WHO report showed that only 19 administrations in the world have implemented these measures.
Shin credited the governments of Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Cook Islands, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, and Singapore for supporting the WHO effort.
”These countries have done a remarkable job in empowering people to quit through graphic health warnings,” said Shin. “But they represent fewer than four percent of the 1.8 billion people who live in Asia and the Pacific.”
According to the WHO, there are more than 480 million smokers in Asia and the Pacific, which has the world’s fastest growth of smoking uptake among women.
Latest WHO statistics also showed that tobacco use continues to be the leading global cause of preventable death, killing nearly six million people annually.
More than five million of them will be users and ex-users of smoked and smokeless tobacco and more than 600,000 will be nonsmokers who were exposed to tobacco smoke.
Based on current trends, the WHO estimates that by 2030, tobacco could kill eight million people a year, with 80 percent of these premature deaths among people living in low- and middle-income countries.
Tobacco use is one of the biggest contributors to the non-communicable diseases (NCD) epidemic, which includes heart disease, stroke, cancers, and emphysema, and accounts for 63 percent of all deaths from NCDs.
Source: World Health Organization.
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