‘Governments must reinforce plans to cut tobacco use’

‘Governments must reinforce plans to cut tobacco use’
‘Governments must reinforce plans to cut tobacco use’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A commissioned 2019 global study has reflected that people want tobacco manufacturers to be more responsible in their research-and-development of new products as they also want governments to claw in more teeth into their tobacco use reduction programmes.

This is in contrast to another commissioned 2018 global study which demonstrated that “consumers have the right to know if better alternative products such as less harmful alternatives to cigarettes exist; it is important that smokers be given less harmful alternatives; and smokers should have access to less harmful alternatives.”

Titled “Unsmoke Your Mind: Pragmatic Answers to Tough Questions for a Smoke-Free Future,” the conclusions of the study was released on Tuesday through a press conference in Davos, Switzerland. A copy was forwarded to Gulf Today on Wednesday.

The study was conducted between Dec. 4 and 19, 2019, with the native languages of the 17,251 respondents between the ages of 21 and 74 in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, UK and USA.

Meanwhile, it was on Dec. 19, 2019 when the World Health Organization (WHO), released its annual report on the prevalence of tobacco consumption whereby it stated that “there will be 10 million fewer tobacco users, male and female, compared to 2018 (1.337 billion from 1.397 in 2000), and another million less by 2025, amounting to 1.299 billion. Only 32 countries are currently on track to reach the 30 per cent reduction target by 2025.”

The report quoted WHO-Health Promotion director Dr. Ruediger Krech: “Reductions in global tobacco use demonstrate that when governments introduce and strengthen their comprehensive evidence-based actions, they can protect the well-being of their citizens and communities.”

In the 2019 global study conducted by the US-based Povaddo LLC consulting firm, 89 per cent or 15,353 of the 17,251 respondents said “before introducing e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products to consumers, manufacturers must conduct robust scientific assessments on their products.”

While e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices which have liquid that contain nicotine, propylene, glycol, glycerin, flavouring and other chemicals, heat-not-burn tobacco products refer to those which do not burn when heated but similar with the former, its heat-generated aerosol contains nicotine and other chemicals. Both are said to have less harmful chemicals compared to the traditional cigarette.

The global study also noted that of the 17,251 respondents, 87 per cent or 15,008 demand that governments, regulators and public health organizations “when developing regulations, should consider science relating to e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products.”

Philip Morris International commissioned the 2018 and 2019 global studies as its management, in January 2017, “publicly declared its intention to give up smoking and promote a smoke-free environment by replacing all its cigarette products.”  

The 2018 31-country survey of 31,002 individuals from the age brackets of 18 to 74, was conducted on Sept. 4 to 19, 2018. It  was carried out in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, The Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, UK, Ukraine, and USA.

The 2018 study disclosed that 94 per cent or 29,142 said consumers have the right to know if better alternative products such as less harmful alternative to cigarettes exist; 83 per cent or 25,732 said it is important that smokers be given less harmful alternatives; and 88 per cent or 27,282 said smokers should have access to less harmful alternatives.

According to the WHO 2019 data, the 10 countries with the highest smoking rates vis-à-vis populations were Kiribati, 52.40 per cent; Nauru, 47.50 per cent; Greece, 42.65 per cent; Serbia, 41.65 per cent; Russia, 40.90 per cent; Jordan, 40.45 per cent; Indonesia, 39.90 per cent; Bosnia and Herzegovinia, 38.60 per cent; Lebanon, 38.30 per cent; and Chile, 38 per cent.

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