By Olivia Olarte www.khaleejtimes.com
As the world unilaterally stubs its cigarettes for a day, UAE health authorities joined hands with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in endorsing the ‘World No Tobacco Day’.
World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every year on May 31 to inform the public about the dangers of tobacco use, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic and what people can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.
This year, WHO celebrates the success of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in the fight against the epidemic of tobacco use. Since it was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2003,172 countries and the European Union have become parties to the WHO FCTC, including the UAE.
Parties to the treaty are obliged to protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke, ban tobacco advertising and sales to minors, put large health warnings on packages of tobacco, ban or limit additives to tobacco products, increase tobacco taxes and create a national coordinating mechanism for tobacco control. According to WHO, this year, the tobacco epidemic will kill nearly six million people, including some 600,000 non-smokers who will die from exposure to tobacco smoke. By 2030, it could kill eight million.
In an effort to support the UAE’s commitment to the FCTC, the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) recently launched the Quit and Win Competition for the month of May where 125 smokers from across the emirate were supported in their quest to quit smoking. Quitters were aided with nicotine replacement gum and patches.
“In the emirate, we are witnessing increased rates of shisha and medwakh smoking which recent research is gradually showing to be at least as bad for health as cigarettes,” said Dr Salim Adib, manager of Public Health at HAAD.