WHO’s report

WHO has released its latest report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). As a strategic response to NCDs, the report, according to WHO, “lays out, for the first time the health and economic benefits of implementing the most cost-effective and feasible interventions to prevent and control NCDs (WHO Best Buys) in low- and lower-middle-income countries.”

However, when it comes to interventions for reducing tobacco use, it seems as if WHO is in a time warp. Though one would agree with the interventions of increasing taxes on tobacco use, large graphic warnings, ban on all tobacco advertising, making public places smoke free, and educating masses about its health hazards, it is high time that WHO gives innovative ideas such as tobacco harm reduction a chance. Adult smokers need every possible opportunity to give up the habit of smoking. Now it has been scientifically proven that tobacco harm reduction helps smokers in quitting or switching to lesser harmful alternatives. Tobacco harm reduction works because almost all disease risk attributed to smoking come from the smoke and the particles of tar and toxic gases inhaled from burning tobacco. 

If smokers can find satisfactory alternatives to cigarettes not involving combustion but providing nicotine, they would avoid almost all disease risks. WHO needs to make tobacco harm reduction one of its best buys for reducing smoking rates.

JUNAID ALI KHAN,

Lahore.

 

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