On May 31, the Israel Cancer Association, alongside the World Health Organization (WHO) globally, will mark World No Tobacco Day, promoting the campaign against smoking. This day aims emphasize the health risks related to smoking tobacco and nicotine and the effective regulatory measures for reducing the number of smokers. This year, the WHO is focusing on the link between smoking and lung health, reporting that the harmful, negative effect smoking has on lung functions among adults and children includes cancer diseases and chronic respiratory diseases resulting from passive or active smoking.
According to WHO data, 165,000 children die before the age of 5 due to lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke around the world. Those who survive suffer the repercussions of childhood exposure on their health and are at a higher risk of developing COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in later life. As of 2019, smoking kills more than 8 million people globally each year, and 1 million non-smokers die as a result of being exposes to second-hand smoke. This means that smoking kills one person every 4 seconds around the world.
The WHO aims to reduce the prevalence of smoking by 30% by 2025. Prevent20 Global Cancer Coalition Group data shows that 20% of all cancer deaths are attributable to smoking, which constitutes the main cause for lung cancer among smokers and is responsible for more than two-thirds of lung cancer mortality around the world.The global coalition was established in order to press governments to raise tobacco taxes, the proven single most effective tobacco control intervention (“Best Buy” for health). The coalition members, ICA among them, aim to reduce the smoking epidemic and prevent millions of deaths from smoking-related cancer per year.
Miri Ziv, Vice Chairman of ICA said: “in the past year Israel has promoted a tax amendment equalizing taxes, expanded the Prevention of Smoking in Public Places and Exposure to Smoking Law in public places and updated the Restriction on Advertising and Marketing of Tobacco Products Act on addictive and death-causing products. All these followed an unwavering battle fought by anti-smoking organizations, Knesset members and with the Ministry of Health’s support. The history of global smoking legislation and enforcement has proved to be life-saving, but there is still much work ahead of us here in Israel. We need an active legislation and effective, rigorous enforcement in order to raise a young generation that is free of tobacco and nicotine addiction.”
The ICA, working year round to prevent mortality and morbidity from smoking-related cancer diseases, emphasizes proven methods to eradicate the smoking epidemic. Data from the Health Ministry shows that every day 22 Israelis die from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, throat cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attacks, strokes and even sudden death. In total, about 8,000 people die every year from these smoking-related diseases, of which 800 are passive smokers, totaling 22 Israelis who die from smoking-related diseases each day.
This year the ICA has again launched a digital campaign amongst the Arab population, addressing young people through a video featuring public opinion leaders in order to change the social norms related to smoking. By targeting young people via the social networks, the ICA will continue to encourage them to avoid taking up smoking, while disassociating masculinity from smoking. The campaign was launched by the Fekra Digital advertising agency led by Yousef Mazzawi and guided by Fatan Jatas, ICA Activity Director for the Arab sector.
World Health organization: “ENDS are employing tactics to expand their consumer base under the guise of contributing to public health”.
Israel Cancer Association: “To claim that ENDS are less harmful than a regular cigarette, at this point, is like arguing that a heart attack is less harmful than cancer”.
The World Health organization (WHO) launched yesterday (Sunday, July 28 2019) a new, 120-page dramatic report about the global tobacco epidemic. A full chapter in the report (pgs. 56-59) was dedicated to the diversity of ENDS products, determining that they serve as a “gateway” to conventional smoking among young people and as tactics by tobacco companies to expand their consumer base under the guise of contributing to public health. The WHO report states that countries should ban the marketing of ENDS in flavors that are known to be appealing to young people to uptake, as well as adopt policies and regulation to force manufacturers to make products unattractive to young people by using plain packaging for all tobacco products. The new report further determined that the scientific evidence is inconclusive and that there is a wide variety of ENDS, some of which have never been researched by the manufacturers themselves (such as the most popular e-cigarette, Juul).The ICA said in response: “we join the position held by WHO and stress that in up-to-date studies, e-cigarettes have already been found to contain toxins and carcinogenic substances that may lead to developing cancer tumors, high blood pressure, stroke and an increased risk of heart diseases, as the manufacturers themselves admit. The latter are most often partners or owners of established tobacco companies, who continue to simultaneously produce and market regular cigarettes, and are in need of new addicts.
We are extremely concerned by the gadgets that appeal to young people and teenagers, enabling them to consume the same addictive nicotine we know from ordinary tobacco cigarettes – but in a new, electronic fashion. Only now, nicotine is available in large concentrations and the users inhale and absorb nicotine continuously in a manner that at times exceeds regular cigarettes significantly.”