Smoking Current Affairs - 2020

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WHO: India off-track to meet tobacco target

The World Health Organization on December 19, 2019, released its report on Global Tobacco use trends. According to the report, number of males using tobacco has declined globally for the first time. The report says that the anti-smoking campaigns all over the world is the main reason for the number of tobacco users to reduce.

Highlights: World

Globally the number of tobacco users have declined by 60 million people. In 2000, the overall tobacco users were 1.397 billion and it has come down to 1.337 billion in 2018. The report says despite the reduction in numbers, the global target set by governments to reduce the use of tobacco by 30% by 2025 remains off track. So far only 32 countries are on track to reach the target.

Around 43 million children (of age 13-15) are using tobacco in 2018. The number of women using tobacco was 244 million. Of all the regions of the world, South East Asian region has the highest use of tobacco. The only region on track to achieve the target is the Americas.

Highlights: India

According to the report, India is off track to achieve the target of 30% reduction by 2025 as compared to 2010 level. Along with India 163 countries are off the track.

However, the consumption rate in India is going down by 21.6% as compared to 2010. The current users of smokeless form of tobacco in India is estimated to be 257,020,000.

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Rajasthan bans Advertisement and sale of e-cigarettes

The Rajasthan government recently announced its decision to ban production, distribution, advertisement and sale of e-cigarette in the state.

Key Highlights

  • Background: The congress government in state had promised in its election manifesto during assembly elections 2019 that it will take steps to curb use of tobacco among youths.
  • About: The government has banned both online and offline sale, storage, production, distribution and advertisement of e-cigarettes in Rajasthan. The decision was announced on occasion of the World No Tobacco Day which is observed on 31 May 2019.
  • Committee: The government had constituted a committee to do a detailed study on rising use of e-cigarettes which highlighted that youths are being misled by advertisements of e-cigarettes as a better alternative to tobacco cigarettes.
  • Significance: Researchers have found that initially many youngsters start smoking e-cigarettes and gradually shift to tobacco cigarettes later in life. Thus the ban will be an important step to curb e-cigarette addiction among youths and will prove effective to discourage them from consumption.
  • Criticism: The e-cigarettes ban is a surprise move in a state where sale of tobacco products and cigarettes is allowed. Since smoking tobacco has been found to be more dangerous than e-cigarette this raises questions whether ban is placed to safeguard interests of tobacco lobby. Also, on one hand public smoking of cigarettes is banned in state but no steps have been taken to ban chewing of tobacco.

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