Tobacco excise tax increases in the budget seem to be as inevitable as night following day.
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control now ready for signature. The 192 members of the WHO on 21 May unanimously adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aimed at curbing tobacco-related deaths and disease. This is the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of the (WHO). The Convention requires countries to impose restrictions on tobacco advertising, sponsorship and promotion, establish new labelling and clean indoor air controls and strengthen legislation to clamp down on tobacco smuggling. This death toll could double to reach 10 million by 2020 if countries do not implement the measures of the FCTC. While smoking rates are declining in some industrialised countries, they are increasing, especially among the young, in many developing countries. These will account for over seventy percent of that projected death toll. (Source: WHO Press Release 21 May 2003).
London - Bad habits like drinking, smoking and overeating, once the preserve of the rich, are taking a hold in developing nations, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.In a report on one of its largest research projects yet, it said the top 10 killers, in order of deadliness, were: 1. Malnourishment 2. Unsafe sex 3. High blood pressure 4. Smoking 5. Alcohol 6. Bad water and poor sanitation 7. Iron deficiency 8. Smoke inhalation from indoor fires 9. High cholesterol 10.Obesity Chris Morris, author of the WHO's World Health Report 2002, said this report is a signpost for public health policy. The report said the top 10 killers accounted for more than one-third of the 56-million deaths around the world annually. The report also slated the large amount of salt added to industrially produced food like bread. Salt reduction was the most cost-effective way of tackling high blood pressure, it said, and legislation was the most reliable way of bringing this about. This report shows the world is living dangerously - because it has little choice - or because it is making the wrong choices. Not all is doom and gloom though, as the WHO officials have said that many of the risk factors can be reversed quickly. (Source- Reuters, Sapa-AFP, Cape Times, 30 October 2002)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its estimate of the number of deaths caused by smoking every year from 4.2 million to 4.9 million. The announcement came ahead of the resumption of talks on a global treaty to curb smoking, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), in Geneva today. WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said that when the process was started, tobacco killed four million people every year. That figure now stands at 4.9 million people per year. The talks between more than 120 ofthe WHO's member states began in October 2000. They are aimed at setting up global rules to curb advertising, marketing and sales of tobacco products by the middle of next year. A draft version of the treaty advocates the elimination of tobacco advertising and sponsorship worldwide. It would also outlaw labelling such as low tar or light on cigarette packs, which the WHO regards as misleading. The proposals call for the eventual prohibition of duty-free sales of tobacco, measures to stop smuggling, and aim to phase out subsidies for tobacco farming and manufacturing. (Source: SAPA-AFP, 11 October 2002)
Smoking contributes to almost one in 10 of all adult deaths in South Africa, with more smokers dying of tuberculosis (TB) and lung-related disease than of cancer. Margaret Urgan, study co-ordinator of the Cancer Epidemiology Research Group in Johannesburg, gave these statistics to the 14th conference of the Africa region of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in Durban. Urgan said that today's smoker predetermined his premature death 30 or 40 years down the line. Urgan said South Africa had made tremendous strides in eliminating smoking. However, chewing tobacco remained a problem, especially among rural women. The co-ordinator of the International Non-Governmental Coalition Against Tobacco, said that the number of tobacco farmers in South Africa had fallen from nearly 2 000 in 1985 to 600 in 2001. The director of the tobacco division of the union, Dr Karen Slama, said that international tobacco companies were spending R20 billion in two weeks on advertising in the United States. This was roughly the same amount that the Global Fund was giving this year to needy countries to fight diseases such as TB, malaria and AIDS. She said the tobacco industry had a record of subverting, circumventing, ignoring or even changing tobacco control legislation. (Source: The Mercury, 17 June 2002)
Children are heeding health warnings about the dangers associated with cigarette smoking. A national survey of 1 400 South African children, aged between five and eight years, found that most declared they would never smoke. Many complained that it was unhealthy, antisocial and affected personal hygiene. Some of the comments made by the children included: People smoke, drink liquor and get drunk. When they get home, they curse their grandmothers. You'll be sick and you'll die from cancer if you smoke. The survey - which compared answers with a similar survey conducted a few years previously - found that fewer children were experimenting with smoking. Researchers were interested in gauging children's perceptions of smoking in the wake of new South African legislation banning cigarette advertising. (Source: Sunday Times, 9 June 2002)
The Health Department was seeking legal advice on reports that there was a loophole in the Tobacco Products Control Act that allowed smoking public places. New legislation is supposed to put a blanket ban on smoking in public, and then make exceptions. Health spokeswoman Jo-Anne Collinge issued a short statement on Wednesday evening saying the department had contacted the relevant officials in the Cape Town Metropolitan Council and the Western Cape Police Commissioner's Office. Police in the Western Cape have been told by a legal adviser that a loophole in the anti-smoking law means smokers cannot be prosecuted for lighting up in public places. In an e-mail to station commanders, head of legal services in Cape Town's West Metropole, Senior Superintendent Melville Cloete said the Tobacco Products Control Act forbade smoking in a public place. However, it did not specifically declare it an offence. Cloete said police should therefore be aware that smoking in a public place is not an offence. His opinion follows hot on the heels of the first conviction under the law, of two Port Elizabeth men who served part of a 20-day day sentence when they were unable to pay the R200 fine for smoking in a magistrate's court in the city. (Source: SAPA, 15 August 2001)
The health department may ask the police to conduct blitzes of businesses ignoring the anti-smoking regulations, Parliament's health portfolio committee heard on 27/02.
Despite a shorter life span, the typical smoker cost healthcare systems more than a non-smoker, it was revealed in a new research at Holland's Erasmus University.