World No Tobacco Day 2018: “Tobacco and Heart Diseases”
On the eve of World No Tobacco Day (May 31) under the initiative of the Ministry of Health and the Country Office of the World Health Organization, Uzbekistan is hosting an interagency round table dedicated to political debates on issues in anti-tobacco policy enforcement in Uzbekistan, and further practical steps to address these issues. The focus of World No Tobacco Day 2018 is "Tobacco and heart disease."
Tobacco use is one of the most important risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) kill more people than any other causes of death in the world, while tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke is the second most common cause of CVDs after high blood pressure.
Every year, the death toll of global tobacco epidemic is over 7 million lives, of which close to 900,000 are non-smokers and die in a result of impact of second-hand tobacco smoke.
According to the WHO estimates founded on the latest prevalence rates of smoking among adults in Uzbekistan, over 1.4 million (50%) out of 2.8 million current smokers are at risk of premature death due to smoking, and this figure can increase in the absence of more intensive anti-smoking measures.
“Tobacco control is a priority measure to achieve the Global Target of 25% reduction in premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) by 2025 adopted during the UN General Assembly, – pointed out Ms. Lianne Kuppens, the WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Uzbekistan, in her welcoming remarks. – However, achieving another voluntary global target in the WHO European Region regarding 30% reduction in tobacco use is raising doubts if no rigid measures are taken in this respect. Strengthening the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a key factor of success in achieving sustainable development in the health area and the main principle for this is to leave no one behind!”
The first Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr. Bakhodir Yusupaliev, confirmed that the Government of Uzbekistan gives full attention to this matter. This corroborated by the fact that the draft Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on approving national sustainable development goals (SGDs) until 2030 includes four important targets: reducing premature mortality from four main NCDs by one-third, reducing tobacco use by 10% in the country, achieving tobacco-free environments in 100% of public places and implementing WHO FCTC effectively. He also emphasized that: “Taking into account tobacco burden to public health and the national economy, it is now extremely important to unify efforts of all sectors including civil society and every single citizen of the country to take an active position and to take part in overcoming all barriers to freeing Uzbekistan from tobacco.”
Considering negative impacts of tobacco on public health and the economy of Uzbekistan, the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Restricting the Distribution and Consumption of Alcohol and Tobacco Products” issued in 2011. In 2012, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan signed the Law “On ratifying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by the Republic of Uzbekistan”. Uzbekistan has also taken a number of measures to reduce tobacco consumption on the population level: in recent years, taxes on tobacco products have been increasing, conditions have been created and control methods for creating a smoke-free environment have been strengthened, measures to ban advertising and marketing have been intensified, and information communication campaigns have been held. However, nowadays these measures are insufficient.
In 2015, the Regional WHO Office for Europe has endorsed a new Roadmap of Actions to Strengthen Implementation of the WHO FCTC in the European Region 2015-2025. This roadmap envisions: a WHO European Region that is free of tobacco-related morbidity, mortality and addiction – in short, the Region where tobacco is a thing of the past.
Currently, there is a wealth of international experience and effective tobacco control measures. WHO’s “MPOWER” measures are aligned with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and may be applied by the governments to reduce tobacco use levels and to protect people from NCDs. These measures include the following:
1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies, monitor the operation of the tobacco industry;
2. Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke by creating smoke-free public places, workplaces and public transport;
3. Offer help to quit tobacco use;
4. Warn about the dangers of tobacco by using simple packaging and/or placing graphic health warnings and holding effective anti-tobacco campaigns in mass media to inform the public about harmful effects of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.
5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship;
6. Raise taxes on tobacco products and reduce their affordability.
Today, on 30 May 2018, the Ministry of Health on behalf of the Government of Uzbekistan jointly with WHO Country Office in Uzbekistan urge representatives of all invited ministries, agencies, authorities, nongovernment organizations, international partners, mass media, and private sector to unite in our efforts to effectively control the tobacco epidemics in all areas outlined in WHO FCTC.