Graphic health warnings would be considered health hazards

Initiative taken by the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena instruct graphic health warnings covering 80 percent of the front and back of tobacco packaging, and declare the toxic substances contained in cigarettes in each pack will make a significant contribution to addressing the huge health, social and economic harm caused by tobacco which is detrimental to the welfare of the people and undermine the development of the initiative taken by the Government, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Prof. Vajira HW Dissanayake said in a press release.

 He said he fully supports the initiative of the Minister. “We also hope that this measure will be implemented without delay, as the new tobacco users are gaining every day, and people die from tobacco-related diseases every day,” said Professor Dissanayake.

Release: Over 60 percent of deaths worldwide are related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The four main NCDs are cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease. Nearly 80 percent of NCD deaths occurred in low-and middle-income countries. Four main risk factors identified for these deaths are tobacco, alcohol, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity.

 Tobacco is the leading cause of three major non-communicable diseases – cardiovascular disease, cancer and chronic lung disease. Tobacco use is one of the most serious public health threats the world has ever faced. He is responsible for 6 million deaths per year worldwide. Of these, 600 000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. One of the two current users will eventually die from tobacco-related diseases

 In Sri Lanka, the number of people who die each year because of tobacco is estimated to be between 12,000 and 20,000. In addition to death, alone, there is a large number of hospitalized with chronic tobacco diseases. The money spent on the purchase of tobacco and costs associated with obtaining treatment, in addition to the lost income from the loss of a significant role in poverty. Each of these deaths and other effects can be prevented. Many countries have introduced evidence measures to reduce tobacco use. Other measures include the cessation of all forms of advertising, sponsorship and promotion, increasing taxes on tobacco products to reduce the availability and the ban on smoking in public places.

The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act number 27 of 2006. Which is one of the most important acts passed in this country to improve the health and well-being is aimed at reducing the huge health, economic and social harm from tobacco. This law requires that health warnings appear on tobacco packages to be prescribed by the Minister of Health.

Large, clear graphic health warnings increases quit smoking, and more importantly, the children and young people from starting to smoke, increasing the warning, the more impact. This also makes it difficult for the tobacco industry to display cigarette packs attractive in retail outlets, including supermarkets. About 50 countries in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa have already implemented this measure, despite stubborn opposition from the tobacco industry.

The international response to the epidemic was decisive. International Convention, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control came into force in February 2005. Since then, he has become one of the most widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations with more than 170 parties. Sri Lanka became the fourth country in the world to ratify this. Surety large and clear warnings are one of the measures; the treaty commits its members.

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