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Misc. News : Featured Products Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

WHO Declares War On "Lying" Tobacco Industry
By Kathy Jones
May 30, 2006 - 4:38:00 PM

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May 30, ( - The World Health Organization has declared a war on the global tobacco industry for continuing to use misleading labels like mild, light and low tar to lure millions of including a majority of children to take up the deadly habit of smoking.

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the WHO said that the focus would be on stressing the fact that all tobacco products are addictive, harmful and can cause death, regardless of the form, packaging, or name under which they are presented to the public. This year's World No Tobacco Day theme is "Tobacco: deadly in any form or disguise."

Dr Yumiko Mochizuki-Kobayashi, Director of the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative said that despite widespread knowledge about the ill effects of tobacco, the industry remained largely unregulated.

"We are faced with a unique public health challenge, as many tobacco products remain unregulated," she said. "Tobacco can kill in any guise, regardless of whether you smoke it, chew it or inhale it through a waterpipe, and that is why all products containing tobacco need to be regulated immediately, in all forms, worldwide."

The WHO also released the results of the Global Youth Tobacco Survey to coincide with the No Tobacco Day. The survey is a joint WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative. The report collected data on teenage smoking habits in 132 countries and the Gaza strip.

Some of the prime findings of the survey are:
* Nearly two in 10 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 15 admit to using cigarettes
* The number of male smokers is 21 percent as opposed to female smokers with 2 percent
* The gap between boys and girls was much narrower at 14 percent for boys compared to 10 percent for girls.
* The prevalence of cigarette use in adolescents was 8.9 percent, but the more alarming trend was noted in the use of tobacco products other than cigarettes, which was 11.2 percent.

The study's lead investigator Charles Warren of the CDC's Office of Smoking and Health says that the identical usage rates of cigarette and non-cigarette products suggests that tighter regulations are needed.

Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the use of water pipes, or hookahs, which are used to smoke flavored tobacco or shisa. These are becoming no less than a status symbol in the Middle East.

"It's changing from the old days where primarily older males would go to the cafes," he said. "Now, apparently families are going to the cafes where the hookah pipes are and the young people are participating and it's a cultural change and apparently it's kind of OK to do this."

Warren said that there are very few studies that have focused on the use of hookah, which is considerably more dangerous than cigarettes. Hookah smokers may inhale 10 times more smoke than cigarette smokers. He added that the high prevalence rate of smoking non-cigarette products made it very difficult for the WHO to meet targets.

"Given the high rates of non-cigarette tobacco use among the young, especially girls, previous estimates of 10 million deaths a year by 2020 could be conservative," he said.

The WHO says that tobacco usage is responsible for five million deaths each year. It is the cause of 90 per cent of lung cancer cases and is linked to many other types of cancer, such as cervical or kidney cancer, as well as emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

If the current usage trends continue, it is estimated that by 2020 7 out of every 10 tobacco-related deaths will be in the developing world.

"The purpose of World No Tobacco Day 2006 is to encourage countries and governments to work towards strict regulation of tobacco products. We will do this by raising awareness about the existence of the wide variety of deadly tobacco products. Regulation should also help people get accurate information, remove the disguise and unveil the truth behind tobacco products – traditional, new, and future," the WHO said.

"Tobacco use is the major contributor to what is now a global chronic disease epidemic," said Dr Catherine Le Galès-Camus, Assistant Director-General, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, WHO. "Regulating all forms of tobacco products cannot be delayed. It is vital to any effective tobacco control programme, and a must if we are to control this epidemic."

Some deadly facts about tobacco

- It is the second major cause of death in the world and is responsible for the death of one in ten adults worldwide.
- Half the people that smoke today (about 650 million people) will eventually be killed by tobacco.
- Tobacco is the fourth most common risk factor for disease worldwide.
- Tobacco leads to malnutrition, increased health care costs and premature death.
- Tar in tobacco in whatever quantity is linked to cancer.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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