Say no to tobacco farming
World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year. The origin of Tobacco is traced back to the US, from where it was introduced to Europe and became popular and a major commercial crop. Any form of consuming Tobacco impact health and wellbeing. Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. More alarming is that many people who have never smoked die due to passive secondary smoking. Technologies like AI are being used for making advocacy for quitting smoking. “Meet Florence”, WHO’s digital health worker to help you quit Tobacco. While observations of days like “World No Tobacco Day” are good for bringing awareness about the ill effects of its use and providing support systems for people to quit smoking. Getting more income is luring many small and medium farmers into tobacco cultivation. Creating an enabling and supportive crop production and marketing ecosystem incentivises farmers to move away from tobacco farming. COVID pandemic taught another lesson, and smokers are at ~50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death. There is an urgent need to introspect. Is it not the greed of human beings for worldly comforts and to become rich that is impacting the health of many? Quitting is the best thing smokers can do. Quit Tobacco to be a winner. More importantly, say no to tobacco farming.
World No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year. It aims at spreading awareness about the dangers of using Tobacco. It all started with the WHO passing a resolution in 1987 proposing April 7, 1988, to be “a world no-smoking day”. WHO called for a “World No Tobacco Day” observation in the subsequent year. May 31 was chosen to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the WHO. It has called for a worldwide ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
Tobacco is the product of fresh leaves of Nicotiana plants. The origin of Tobacco can be traced back to the US, from where it was introduced to Europe. It became popular and one of the major commercial crops. Data has shown that tobacco use led to an increase in the risk of chronic lung disease, cancer, and heart attacks. Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, accounting for two-thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. The building up of mucous membrane in the lungs causes painful coughing and difficulty breathing. Tobacco smoking is also the leading cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It is true of the use of Tobacco in any form, be it Cigarettes, Beedi, chewing Tobacco, snuff, and Gutka.
Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world. Half the people who smoke regularly (~ 650 million people) will eventually lose their lives due to its use. More alarming is that many people who have never smoked die due to secondary smoking. Children exposed to passive smoking are at increased risk of respiratory infections. Globally, 60,000 children die before five due to respiratory infections due to secondary smoking. Tobacco smoke is a dangerous form of indoor air pollution: it contains many chemicals that cause cancer. Over 8 million people are killed every year due to the use of Tobacco. Smoking cuts 13 years from your life expectancy on average.
Over 70% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide lack access to the tools they need to quit successfully. Technologies like AI are being used for making advocacy for quitting smoking. “Meet Florence”, WHO’s digital health worker to help you quit Tobacco [Using AI to quit Tobacco (who.int)]. “Florence” is a digital bot created with technology developed by companies from the US and New Zealand and support from Amazon and Google.
Say no to tobacco farming
In the last two decades, tobacco production has increased, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The top producers of Tobacco are China (39.6%), Brazil, India (8.3%), (7.0%) and the United States (4.6%). Despite the evidence that labour-intensive tobacco cultivation is not profitable for smallholder farmers, the tobacco industry lures many of them to continue growing Tobacco. The perceived viability of Tobacco and the financial benefits that would follow is why farmers continue to grow Tobacco. There is a need to assist tobacco farmers and others employed in the tobacco sector to find viable alternative economic livelihoods. In developing countries, child labour in the tobacco industry is another evil that societies must fight to eliminate.
An estimate puts the profit from cultivating Tobacco compared to the wheat is nine times as much. Getting more income is luring many small and medium farmers into tobacco cultivation. Tobacco farming leads to depletion of water sources, large-scale deforestation, soil erosion and contamination of the air and water systems. WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) collaborate on an alternative livelihood project. Creating an enabling and supportive crop production and marketing ecosystem incentivises farmers to move away from tobacco farming.
COVID pandemic taught another lesson, and smokers are at ~50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death. Quitting is the best thing smokers can do.
The quantum of money spent on advertising tobacco use can be a reliable source of funds that can be deployed for enhancing wellbeing. The companies have developed novel ways of continuing to promote their tobacco products despite a legal ban.
Is it not the greed of human beings for worldly comforts and to become rich, the impact on the health of many?
Quit Tobacco to be a winner
Say no to tobacco farming
Toons: Shreya , Reema and Anusha
Logs: M Sai Baba
The toonlogs posted on the same topic earlier can be accessed at: https://niascomm.in/2021/05/31/world-no-tobacco-day/