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.

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China Tobacco Control

China has 350 million smokers and 540 million who experience second hand smoke from tobacco use. With China as a member country of WHO FCTC (World Health Organization Framework Conven-tion on Tobacco Control) since 2006, Chinese public health authorities are “pressed” to carry more practical policies on tobacco control.

Thus China has promised to push enforcement to ban smoking in the Ministry of Health, its administrative offices and its subsidiary hospitals by the end of this year. And this is considered “an important step and a positive example for Chinese contribution on tobacco control,” said Michael O’Leary, WHO China Representative, in a Tobacco Control Office 2010 China Tobacco Control Report release press conference.

Quit line

Two months ago, Tobacco Control Office established a quit line for smokers aiming to offer professional help and also stating their data research and evaluation to feed back to policy makers in the Ministry of Health for tobacco control.

Within only two weeks of opening the help line, there were over 300 people who had called in, according to deputy director of Tobacco Control Office Jiang Yuan.

“Less places to smoke may help motivate people to quit. And we are here to make sure that they get help when needed,” said Jiang.

Tobacco Control Office quit line’s team includes project research officers on tobacco control evaluations, MDs, respiratory disease experts, young graduates from medical school and volunteers. The whole team is behind thousands of text messages that they send to their “clients” at three different times of the day, just to keep you going and not give up along the way.

What’s more, if you get annoyed by the messages, simply cancel the subscription. None have done so far though, said quit line intern Wang Lili.

This year’s World No Tobacco Day theme focuses on the harm which tobacco marketing and smoke do to women. At the same time it seeks to make men more aware of their responsibility to avoid smoking around women with whom they live and work.

Among the 300 people who have called Tobacco Control Office’s quit smoking line, there are no women smokers. There were a few women who called in the name of their fathers or husbands.

Women smokerschima smoking women

According to Tobacco Control Office’s 2010 China Tobacco Control Report, women’s use of tobacco is increasing worldwide. In China, 3.08 percent of women smoked according to a survey in 2002. And women smokers have tended to be younger than the age of 24 over the past five years.

Kan Jia, a marketing executive at MTV said that she’s considering quitting. “I don’t know if I am considered a smoker. I smoke five cigarettes a day and only when I drink in a restaurant or in a bar or when people around me are smoking. I expect the government to push the smoking ban harder. Then either they suffer or quit. ”

Wu Yiqun, executive director of Xintan Research Center for Health Development, a local NGO in public health field, just received a 2010 WHO World No Tobacco Day Award last Friday “for her long term and important contribution for tobacco control in China”.

When China was given The Dirty Ashtray Award by the third session of the conference of WHO FCTC in South Africa in 2008 for “attempting to make a mockery of Article 11 guidelines including preferring beautiful cigarette packages over the health of its citizens”, Wu was there and was the only NGO representative of China’s tobacco control field.

“It is a criticism of China’s current tobacco monopoly system,” said Wu. The retired toxicologist has committed to push public health policy making and the enforcement of printing effective warnings on cigarette packs.

Cao Lin, a toy shop owner and mother, is a strong opponent of “printing a dark lung” on cigarette packs. “I smoke occasionally. I know I should not. I think of quitting often. A picture of a pre maternal infant printed on cigarette pack would really terrify me enough to quit,” said Cao.

Smoking ban

From 2005, with the help of the University of Hong Kong and American Cancer Society, Tobacco Control Office has started to train respiratory doctors and then tried to open cessation clinics for tobacco use nationwide.

Yu Hongxia, associate professor of the Division of Respiratory Disease and Cessation Clinic for Tobacco Use at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital said the clinic was founded in January 2005. Until now it has had 1,500 patients, which Yu thinks is “too little” given the widespread smoking in Beijing.

After all, “apart from the doctors’ efforts, government policy, smoke ban legislation, health awareness in society and media support is also key,” said Yu. “At least more than half of the doctors in the hospital where I work have quit smoking in recent years.”

WHO China representative Michael O’Leary (center) and 2010 WHO World No Tobacco Day Award recipients Wu Yiqun (left) and Xu Guihua (right). Photos: CFP and Sheng Taotao

In Chaoyang Hospital, what they did over the past five years was to set up a transition period, when they had 19 smoking areas in hospital but by early 2007, smoking was totally banned indoors.

“For a total smoking ban, every country is facing the same challenge, from the tobacco economy and public health legislation and enforcement,” said Tobacco Control Office deputy director Jiang.

“China still has a long way to go. Even though we started late, I’m positive about it.”

“It does take time but it’s not that long. Smoking among doctors was heavy in the US in the 1950s and 1960s. But between the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a big change. It takes 15 or 20 years,” said WHO representative O’Leary.

O’Leary shared a personal example: his own father’s quitting smoking experience. His father was a young doctor and a heavy smoker in the 1950s and had a heart attack when he was 42 and almost died. After he recovered, he quit smoking. Now O’Leary’s father is 88 years old and is now visiting China.

“So I think it will happen more quickly than that. It just has to reach the tipping point,” said O’Leary.

Tobacco Control Office’s quit line may be connected with Beijing’s public health hotline 12345 in the near future.

Tobacco Control Office quit line: 5936-1502

Weekday 8:30 am-5:30 pm; weekend 9 am-5 pm

Inquiry email: [email protected]

Or send a text for help at 076089840531

Other services for quitting smoking:

Jie Yan Wo Neng (I can quit smoking) hotline: 400-810-5180

Quitting smoking clinic at Chaoyang Hospital: 6508- 9393

Quitting smoking clinic at China-Japan Friendship Hospital: 8420-5252/8420-5251

June 03 2010, Global Times

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