World No Tobacco Day will be observed today

Anti-Tobacco Forum convener Vasanthkumar Mysoremath has expressed concern that India “is not sincere about implementing the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) despite being a signatory to it”.

Grim reality

Speaking on the eve of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, Mr. Mysoremath said there was a death every 8 seconds as a direct result of using tobacco products. However, no sincere efforts were being made to tackle the issue on a war-footing, he alleged.

He said the World Health Organisation’s FCTC requires that all 174 countries that are signatories to the agreement to reduce availability of tobacco by 80 per cent by 2020.

However, only 19 countries have implemented comprehensive national bans so far.

The statistics

Mr. Mysoremath pointed out that India produces 620 million kg of tobacco annually and is the third largest producer after China and Brazil and second largest consumer after China.

Globally, 6 million people die annually and more than 80 per cent deaths occur in the developing world, he added.

One-third of the global adult population and almost half of the children are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke (SHS) while 6,00,000 people die each year from exposure to this. Mr. Mysoremath added that in India, more than 50 million women are exposed to SHS during pregnancy.

Citing the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India Report, he said that 34.6 per cent of adults in India were using tobacco while 5,500 Indian youth began using tobacco every day.

Criticising the government for not curbing tobacco production, Mr. Mysoremath said it was a paradox that elected representatives were sympathising with the demands of tobacco farmers and putting pressure on the Union government to give better prices even for illegally grown tobacco.

Incidentally, Periyapatna, Hunsur and H.D. Kote in Mysore district are among the leading tobacco cultivating taluks in the country.

Suggested deterrents

Mr. Mysoremath said that prices of cigarettes as well as smokeless tobacco should be increased. He also urged the Tobacco Board to refuse to procure tobacco grown in excess by licensed farmers as well as tobacco cultivated illegally.

He also called for a 10 per cent reduction in the number of licence-holders every year and an annual 10 per cent reduction in the acreage of permitted land for cultivation by licensed tobacco farmers.

Mr. Mysoremath added that the license renewal fee should be hiked by 100 per cent every year

He added that to process 1 kg of tobacco, 7 kg of wood was required. This translated into more than 1,65,000 trees being cut per season.

  • World No Tobacco Day will be observed today

  • Mysoremath provides suggestions to reduce tobacco production, consumption