WHO calls for plain packaging initiative on World Tobacco Day
Tobacco users are in for a new form of tobacco delivery as World Health Organization (WHO) has called for countries to get ready for plain packaging for this year's World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).
On 31st May each year, the WHO and associates mark World No Tobacco Day with a crucial theme stressing on the health risks related to tobacco use. It campaigns for effective course of action to lessen tobacco consumption. This year is no different as the WHO gears up to fight the health risk with a distinctive theme "Get ready for plain packaging."
However, it may be noted that Northeast India, which already has a high incidence of cancer cases due to tobacco would be at greater risk if at all this call of WHO is implemented. This will provide easy accessibility to tobacco products, thereby increasing the chances of cancer in the region as even despite the 85 per cent increase in the warning space in packages, there has still no visibility of decline in the cases of tobcco related cancer in the region.
Again, the illicit trade of such products has also been inflicting the region for long. A survey that was undertaken in 2010 found out that there were 42,000 smokers in Dimapur district alone. Again, as per the Global Audit Tobacco Survey (GATS) for 2009-2010, tobacco prevalence rate in Nagaland was seen to be 57%.
Furthermore, this will also increase the instances of substance abuse among the youths.
Facts about plain packaging
Interest in plain packaging is progressing across the globe:
1. In December 2012, Australia became the first country to fully implement plain packaging.
2. In 2015, Ireland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and France all passed laws to implement plain packaging from May 2016.
3. A number of countries are in advanced stages of considering adoption of plain packaging laws.
World No Tobacco Day 2016 aims to:
1. Highlight the role of plain packaging as part of a comprehensive, multisectoral approach to tobacco control.
2. Facilitate policy development by Member States and the globalization of plain packaging by providing informative, compelling and persuasive information.
3. Encourage Member States to strengthen packaging and labelling measures and restrictions on advertising, promotion and sponsorship as they work towards plain packaging in a step-wise approach.
4. Support Member States and civil society against tobacco industry interference in political processes leading to adoption of plain packaging laws.
(TNT Desk, sources)