tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

tocacco Cigarettes are smoking products consumed by people and made out of cut tobacco leaves. Cigars are typically composed completely of whole-leaf tobacco. A cigarette has smaller size, composed of processed leaf, and white paper wrapping. The term cigarette refers to a tobacco cigarette too but it can apply to similar devices containing other herbs, such as cannabis.

Landmark decisions for tobacco control

The government reduced the tobacco industry to the size of a pygmy here Sunday by announcing immediate rollback of the controversial Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) on Designated Smoking Areas (DSAs) and making the printing of pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers mandatory with effect from January 1, 2010.

The government also prohibited the tobacco companies from offering free giveaways, cash rebates or discounts as a marketing incentive. It also announced to make Pakistan Railways smoke-free from July 1, 2009.

Minister for Health Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani made these surprise announcements at a seminar organised in connection with World No-Tobacco Day 2009 (WNTD) here on Sunday. By doing so, the government not only added a golden chapter to the history of tobacco control efforts in Pakistan but also regained its lost glory in the international health community, which felt the pinch of the country’s pro-tobacco industry posture just as much as anti-tobacco campaigners at home.

The Ministry of Health maintained a high level of secrecy, and kept the audience guessing till the last moment. While speculations were rife about withdrawal of the SRO, not a single official confirmed the news till it was officially announced by Jakhrani.

“We are under oath not to divulge anything,” director general-implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Shaheen Masud and health education adviser Mazhar Nisar swore to this correspondent before the start of the event.

‘The News’ learnt that the decisions have come despite late-night manoeuvrings by the tobacco industry to gain time. Reeling from the effects of the suicidal announcements, the industry is yet to recover from the cardiac arrest induced by the Ministry of Health ambush. As for the anti-tobacco campaigners, it was a day of jubilation and exchange of congratulations; their efforts finally bore fruit.

Pakistan shocked health experts at home and abroad on September 6, 2008 when it issued the controversial SRO containing guidelines for the establishment of designated smoking areas (DSAs). No other decision of the Ministry of Health has triggered as much media criticism as the said SRO. Even though the Ministry took a long time to realize that a fault denied is twice committed, it still deserves commendation for finally demonstrating-through solid actions-its resolve to undo mistakes of the past by prioritising the health and well-being of the people of Pakistan.

In fact, the government went a step ahead by recognising the importance of this year’s theme of World No-Tobacco Day and making it mandatory, with effect from January 1, 2010, to print pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs and outers. “We realize that in view of our low literacy rate, people need to be warned of the health risks of smoking through graphic representations,” Jakhrani stated. He also said that heavy penalties would be awarded to tobacco companies that offer any kind of marketing incentives to promote sales. “With effect from July 1, 2009, no tobacco company will be allowed to offer goods, cash rebates, or discounts as a marketing incentive,” he stated.

Jakhrani also announced that all railway trains will be smoke-free from July 1, 2009. “We have worked out an action plan with the Ministry of Railways towards this end,” he informed. After Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways will be the second public transport organisation to become smoke-free. He also promised to work on enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking Ordinance by prohibiting smoking in all public places including government and public offices, restaurants, airports and railway stations, etc.

The woes of the financially-starved Tobacco Control Cell also appeared to have been heard. Jakhrani promised to strengthen the cell so that it is able to perform its functions in a meaningful and effective manner.

The ceremony also featured presentation of a medal and a certificate to Dr. Javaid Khan, chairman of the National Alliance for Tobacco Control, in recognition of his pioneering efforts for tobacco control in Pakistan. Jakhrani presented the award to him on behalf of the Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Margaret Chan.

The only person whose absence was acutely felt was the Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Khalif Bile Mohamud, who played a central role in persuading the Ministry of Health to reverse its decision and to comply with FCTC stipulations of 100% smoke-free environments. Other partners and stakeholders who fought the battle included the Journalists Health Forum, the National Alliance for Tobacco Control (NATC) and the Coalition for Tobacco Control (CTC). Secretary Health Khushnood Lashari was also a happy man for having played a role in reversal of a decision that was taken in his previous tenure as Secretary Health.

Acting WHO chief Dr. Ahmed Shadoul read out the message of Regional Director EMRO Dr. Hussein A Gezairy. The RD has warned governments that the tobacco industry will not stop its attempts to manipulate the regulations (for application of pictorial health warnings) for its own benefit, and that they should, therefore, anticipate its steps and act accordingly.

Earlier, Shaheen Masud recommended the simplification of procedures governing award of penalties for violation of the anti-smoking ordinance, and formulation of a multi-stakeholder response to the tobacco epidemic, with the ministries of education, railways, interior, youth affairs, as well as ulema, media, and police acting as key agents of change. She highlighted current and past initiatives of the Tobacco Control Cell, and pleaded for approval of the Rs.34.934 million PC-1.

© Copyright: Thenews

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