The World Health Organization (WHO) selects “tobacco industry interference” as the theme of the next World No Tobacco Day, which will take place on Thursday, 31 May 2012. The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) because of the serious danger they pose to public health.
Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless we act, it will kill up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80% will live in low- and middle-income countries.
As more and more countries move to fully meet their obligations under the WHO FCTC, the tobacco industry’s efforts to undermine the treaty are becoming more and more energetic. For example, in an attempt to halt the adoption of pictorial health warnings on packages of tobacco, the industry recently adopted the novel tactic of suing countries under bilateral investment treaties, claiming that the warnings impinge the companies’ attempts to use their legally-registered brands. The industry is also attempting to undermine the treaty continue on other fronts, particularly with regard to countries’ attempts to ban smoking in enclosed public places and to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
World No Tobacco Day 2012 will educate policy-makers and the general public about the tobacco industry’s nefarious and harmful tactics. It will also be in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the WHO FCTC. The preamble of the treaty recognizes “the need to be alert to any efforts by the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts and the need to be informed of activities of the tobacco industry that have a negative impact on tobacco control efforts”.
On World No Tobacco Day 2012, and throughout the following year, WHO will urge countries to put the fight against tobacco industry interference at the heart of their efforts to control the global tobacco epidemic. World No Tobacco Day 2012 has also developed an agenda to introduce and encourage the new dimension in smoking: The Electronic Cigarette.
Electric Cigarettes serve the purpose of helping people quit smoking by standing as an alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes have batteries instead of tobacco, cartridges instead of nicotine, water vapour instead of smoke! A Smokefree cigarette is made up 3 components. 1) The Cartridge. This contains the flavoured e-liquid inhaled during smoking. 2) The Atomizer. This changes the liquid from the cartridge into a vapour(smoke look alike) 3) The Battery, which is rechargable and has a micro processor which controls the atomizer. The tip is an LED light which blinks when the battery is low. Smokefree e- cigarettes come with tobacco flavoured cartridges and infused flavoured cartridges, all of which can be customised with differing amounts of nicotine. One Cartridge for Rs 20 would last you the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes can be smoked legally in public places as they are Smokefree.
World Tobacco Day pro-activists patronize this healthy alternative to smoking and are currently in the process of developing a campaign to promote the use of e-cigs as a substitute for smokers who refuse to quit smoking. They will first build awareness amongst masses through celebrity endorsements, and then radio, print and tc advertisements. Not surprisingly, the tobacco industry considers the electronic cigarette industry as the second biggest interference after WHO.
One of the biggest threats the tobacco industry has received in the last few years is from electronic cigarettes. As these simple devices simulate the same smoking ritual without providing tobacco, they are being touted as the next leaders in the industry. Electronic cigarettes are serious threats to the tobacco industry because they allow smokers to continue ‘vaping’ without exposing them to carcinogens and thousands of toxic chemicals exhaled with tobacco smoke.
Electronic cigarettes are strong competitors to their tobacco counterparts because they are more efficient cessation devices. Although they are not formally marketed as smoking cessation devices, electronic cigarettes have been known to deliver better results than all other therapies combined. With rising taxes on tobacco products and increasing number of smoking bans implemented all over the world, e cigarettes are also cost effective as they work out much cheaper than traditional cigarettes.
The overall production levels of the cigarette industry have significantly reduced. A 35% reduction has been noticed in the production of tobacco products for local consumption as well as for exports. People are choosing the sensible smoking substitute: electronic cigarettes. The cheaper alternative. The greener alternative. The healthier alternative.
What do you choose on World No Tobacco Day?