Women and Tobacco
WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY
IT IS TIME TO UNDERSTAND THE HAZARDS OF SMOKING AND GIVE IT UP, ONCE AND FOR ALL, URGES A K WANI
World No Tobacco Day is observed on 31st May every year throughout the world to say “No to Tobacco – Yes to Life.”
Tobacco is one of the greatest emerging health disasters in human history. It is the second major cause of death and the single, largest, man made, preventable cause of disease in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) is as such on the mission against tobacco use to save people from this menace. Pictorial warnings on Tobacco products have been made as such mandatory, which means to give warnings about the hazards of Tobacco use.
Tobacco affects household economics through loss of money on buying tobacco, loss of income due to illness and premature death as well as healthcare costs due to hospitalization, surgeries and medicines.
India is the second largest producer of Tobacco in the world and nearly 3,70,000 hectares of land is devoted to tobacco farming. Around 3 to 5 lakh farmers grow tobacco in the country. Its cultivation is mainly done is Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar Assam and Utter Pradesh. There is a need to stop contradictory policies of tobacco and promotion of tobacco cultivation.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has set up a working Group on alternative Farming to review and suggest alternate crops to tobacco. The Ministry of agriculture is also making efforts to identify crops through central Tobacco Research Institute to replace tobacco farming.
Links between Tobacco and diseases
• In 1962, Britain’s Royal Collage of Physicians linked cigarettes to ill health.
• In 1970, the US surgeon General stated as a warning “cigarette smoking is dangerous to health.”
• In 1978, WHO experts said, “Smoking is a major and certainly avoidable cause of ill health and premature death.”
• Some 50,000 studies all over the world have irrefutably established the links between Tobacco and diseases including cancer.
• When a pregnant women smokes, her unborn child does so too.
• She passes carbon monoxide and nicotine to the baby’s bloodstream, lessening its supply of oxygen and accelerating its heartbeat.
• Her newborn child is likely to be premature or under weight and her toddler frequently ill.
This year’s theme of World No Tobacco Day is “Women and Tobacco” As per sample survey conducted by J&K Voluntary Health Association in various villages of Kashmir valley, 30-35% of Rural Population are smokers and among them 8% are women. These findings have been made public by J&K Voluntary Health Association so that members of the civil society and Religious leaders can inform the public about the hazards of Tobacco smoking and health.
Cigarette smoking, Hukka smoking, polluted water of Hukka, burnt tobacco char are all creating environmental hazards. Though Bidi is not common here, but the labourers of other states particularly from Bihar, Orissa and UP who come to Kashmir during summer months pollute the environment by their excessive smoking of Bidi in areas where they find cheaper residential accommodation. The local inhabitants are also seriously affected. Aged men, young people and women have been smoking traditionally in Kashmir since ages particularly in winter months in side their rooms with windows closed there by causing health hazards to their family members particularly to the newborn babies.
The Embroidery needle workers keep a Hukka for smoking. Hukka smoke creates stink in their environment which adversely affects the health of their family members. The traditional artisans of Papier Machie and wood carving who work in their homes or in groups, use Hukka smoking. The majority of masons, carpenters, labourers, painters, plumbers, welders, farmers, shopkeepers, drivers, cleaners, passengers, teachers, officials smoke in their work places.
The robust law enacted by GOI called the Tobacco Control Act (prohibition of advertisements and regulation of Trade and Commerce, production, supply and Distribution) Act 2003 enacted by the Parliament of India on 18th May 2003 Called COTPA with the aim of discouraging the use and consumption of cigarettes and other Tobacco products so as to achieve improvement in Public Health in India.
Though the Government has taken various steps towards tobacco control but effective implementation is still lacking particularly with regard to two of the most crucial Sections of COTPA, which are:-
Section 4 – ban on smoking in public places
Section 6 – (a) ban on sale of tobacco products to person below 18 years of age
Section 6 - (b) ban on sale of tobacco products within 100 yards of any educational institutions.
Many seminars in collaboration with NGOS, Civil Societies and Religious leaders need to be conducted by the Government for general awareness of the public in general and vulnerable youth and women folk in particular about the hazards of tobacco.
(A.K. Wani is Sr. Programme Officer JK Voluntary Health Association)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
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