Stop the rise of tobacco consumption in Myanmar

Perspectives

The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats in Myanmar, killing about 65,000 every year due to the result of direct tobacco use, according to the World Health Organization’s statistics in 2018.
Myanmar has experienced falls in life expectancy as death tolls from tobacco related diseases has gone higher. For males and females in Myanmar, life expectancy has declined to 63,9 years and 69.9 years respectively according to the 2014 Myanmar census, and the figures show that Myanmar has lower life expectancy in comparison with neighboring countries.
The burden of tobacco-related illnesses and death is heaviest in the country. Although Myanmar has tried her best to reduce tobacco use for many years, it is found that the number of smokers and smoke-related diseases are on the increase.
For the people of the world, especially in least developed countries, non-contagious diseases together with contagious diseases are a big threat to their lives as well as being a huge health burden.
This is the biggest health threat the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke, according to WHO.
According to research data, 44 per cent of men in Myanmar consumed tobacco, while quid with tobacco is consumed by 62 per cent of the men.
Within Southeast Asia’s ASEAN countries, Myanmar is seen to have the highest percentage of quid consumption with tobacco leaf products. This is becoming the main challenge for our people’s health.
Smoking cigarettes and daily continuous consumption of tobacco leaf products including quid are seen to be widely increasing among the people, both among men and women.
Besides, exposure to second-hand smoke can cause many of the same diseases as active smoking. Just as preventive and treatment of contagious diseases are being made, preventing and controlling of non-contagious diseases from consuming quid and tobacco leaf products need to be done.
Especially among students and children under 13 who have not used quid, they should be prevented from starting to use it and to stop the dangerous usage if already started.
Not only teachers but also the people in the country and media are requested to participate in the nationwide campaign at schools as a national duty while the government is conducting the campaign through mass media to prevent use of tobacco because the work of preventing NCDs and tobacco control couldn’t be conducted solely by the Ministry of Health and Sports.

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