Kathmandu, May 31 (RSS): More than 27,000 people die annually in Nepal due to illnesses related to tobacco consumption, according to data from the National Health Education, Information and Communication Center.
The Center's Director Sunil Raj Sharma in a statement today confirmed the death of 27,137 people every year due to the consumption of tobacco products.
Globally, over 8 million people die from the consumption of tobacco products every year. Of the death toll, 7 million died from firsthand tobacco consumption and 1.2 million from secondhand smoke exposure.
Consumption of tobacco products causes cancer and various diseases including heart and respiratory diseases and diabetes.
To minimize the effects of tobacco products, various acts, laws and directives relating to their control and regulation have been made in the country.
"Various awareness campaigns and programs have been launched to ensure good health of people, decrease the consumption of tobacco products and help people quit these products. However, challenges have remained due to interference of tobacco industries and their strategy," he said.
May 31 each year is celebrated as World No Tobacco Day and the theme of the day for this year is ‘Protect the Environment’ as it aims to highlight the tobacco threat to the environment, raising public awareness about the environmental impact of tobacco.
In the press statement, Sharma reminded the ill effects of tobacco consumption not only on public health but also in the environment as well, suggesting that quitting the use of tobacco is the best way to avoid the health and environmental consequences of its use.
He stressed the need of launching a no tobacco campaign throughout the year to discourage its cultivation, production, and consumption and minimize the environmental impacts of tobacco. The whole tobacco cycle - cultivation, production, consumption and wastes it generates - pollutes water resources, soil and its fertility and the entire atmosphere. Tobacco cultivation leads to deforestation and it will degrade the soil fertility as well, it is said.
Toxic gases and smoke to be generated from tobacco production and consumption are one of the reasons fueling the greenhouse gas effect, according to Sharma who underlines the need of discouraging its production and consumption as well. Of the total global production of tobacco, 90 percent of production takes place in developing countries.
Though tobacco production is considered the means of better income in low and middle-income countries, its future consequences as are devastating. It may lead to food insecurity, poverty, health hazards, and environmental degradation.