Public Health: Tobacco Consumption

Discuss about the Public Health for Tobacco Consumption.

Introduction

The tobacco consumption among the common public has become a great public health concern. It places an enormous burden on public health due to the risk factor for several diseases such as chronic lung condition, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. It also increases the social and economic cost of a country due to disease and death caused by its use. Although the Australian Government has committed to reducing national daily smoking rate by 10% by 2018, still a lot needs to be done to reduce the associated health risk due to tobacco use in public (Ng et al. 2014). This paper describes the overall scenario regarding tobacco use in the world and explains the strategies that have been implemented in Australia and other countries to reduce tobacco consumption. Finally, it gives the recommendation regarding what needs to be done in the future to reduce tobacco consumption and its impact on public health outcome.

History of Tobacco Use

Tobacco use first became prevalent in the pre-Columbian Americas, and it became increasingly popular after the arrival of Europeans for trade. After the industrial revolution, more powerful tobacco industries came up, and cigarettes became even more popular in the whole world. The rise of tobacco industry fostered an unparallel increase in growth of tobacco use in public. It was only in the mid-1900s that the consequence of tobacco smoking on public health was studied, and the different countries started taking action to reduce its consumption. By the 1930s researcher also showed a possible correlation between cancer and smoking (Samet 2013). Tobacco worsens other health conditions like cancer and mental health. After the impact of tobacco on health outcome had become evident to the world, different countries started condemning tobacco use by the anti-smoking campaign. It was followed by advertising bans, displaying health warning on the packaging of tobacco and setting the minimum age of sale requirements. The World Health Organization (WHO) also took the initiative to reduce potential burden of disease due to tobacco consumption by signing a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control with 168 member countries in 2003 (Edition.cnn.com. 2016). 

Emergence of Powerful Tobacco Industry

Tobacco was first grown for the purpose of trade in North America. The first commercial hand-rolled cigarette was made in 1865 by Washington Duke in North Carolina. It was used by soldiers during the Civil War. However, cigarette smoking became widespread after the invention of cigarette making the machine in 1881. After this invention, the first tobacco industry came up in the name of American Tobacco Company. The wars proved good for the tobacco industry, and the cigarette production increased by 300 billion per year by 1944 (Shiffman et al. 2016). Powerful tobacco companies like Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, American Brands and others came up since the rise of World War II. Even after the report on health hazards due to tobacco use, tobacco companies promoted new brand of cigarettes with lower amount of nicotine and improved filters so that people keep buying their products (Gneiting & Schmitz 2016). Currently, the largest tobacco company in the world is China National Tobacco Corporation followed by Philip Morris. The common tobacco companies that operate in Australia include British American Tobacco Australia, Philip Morris International and Imperial Tobacco Australia (Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au. 2016). 

Current Scenario Regarding Tobacco Use in the World

China, Eastern, and Southern Europe are the countries where the highest number of people consumes tobacco. The rate is also high because of high rate of cigarettes smoked by average smoker per day. According to the recent report, about 5.8 trillion cigarettes were smoked worldwide in the year 2014 (The Tobacco Atlas. 2016). Although the significant reduction in smoking rate was observed by UK, Australia, and Brazil after implementation of strict tobacco control laws, however, the effort has been offset by the high rate of tobacco consumptions in the single nation of China. It is the major market for consuming cigarettes. Other regions which are playing the key role in global tobacco epidemic are the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region. This region is showing more than one-third increase in consumption rate every year. Africa also has a great risk of growth in consumption of tobacco due to recent economic development in the country and increase in population growth in Africa (Méndez et al. 2013). The country also lacks preventive policy to curb tobacco smoking. The global trend of tobacco consumption shows that disparities exist in consumption rate because of low socioeconomic status. The increase in other variety of tobacco products apart from cigarettes is also on the rise because these products are taxed at lower rate than cigarettes. Thus, it makes it affordable for people too. Other reasons for high tobacco users are sociocultural factors of a community which favors initiation of smoking, lack of public awareness about its health hazards, little action by government and strong resistance from tobacco industry (Bilano et al. 2015). Therefore, trends suggest that lack government control measure is the reason for the increase in tobacco users.

Strategies and Policies to Reduce Tobacco Use

The Tobacco control strategic policy was implemented in Australia for the promotion of public health and dealing with tobacco epidemic (Guindon et al., 2013). The comprehensive action that was taken under this strategy between the periods of 1962-2012 included the following:

  • Established public education campaign and deliver education materials to school children educating about the hazards of tobacco smoking (Adkison et al., 2013).
  • Restriction on sale of tobacco to children and tobacco advertising.
  • Wide restriction on smoking in the public place especially in front of children.
  • Implemented state wide health system smoke-free policies.
  • Imposed high level of taxation on all tobacco products with further stress on increasing the cost.
  • The Australian government implemented quitline services and smoking cessation programs to provide assistance to active smokers who quit smoking (Rosenberg et al. 2012).

A sudden change in attitude towards the use of tobacco also resulted in the decline in the incidence of lung cancer in the US. (Regan et al. 2013) Suggest that this change has been possible because of increased public intervention to reduce tobacco use. The strategies that led to significant reduction of tobacco drugs included reducing the sale of tobacco products through smoke-free policies, increased taxation on such products, comprehensive ban on advertising and other public awareness campaigns (Bunnell et al., 2014). Similarly, various other policies have been implemented in different countries to curb the practice of tobacco consumption and reduce risk factors for other chronic disease.

Recommendation to Reduce the Impact of Tobacco Use on Health Outcome

The following are the recommendation to discourage the use of tobacco products worldwide:

  • Firstly, it is necessary that different countries learn from their previous tobacco control strategies to redevelop their plan. Voluntary measures are generally not successful. Therefore strict regulation is required to make the control policy successful.
  • Another important step is to frame the effective policy that aims to change the behavior and attitude of the general population towards the habit of tobacco smoking. It is also necessary that all policies and actions are evaluated and improved with time so that they continue to be effective for selected population (Dahlgren & Whitehead, 2016).
  • Another way to revolutionize the society to address the problem of tobacco use is to develop and implement new therapies for treating nicotine dependence among chain smokers. It will also be necessary to liberalize access to the medicinal form of nicotine (Lindson-Hawley et al., 2013). This strategy will be helpful because currently there is the high rise in tobacco users worldwide. Therefore, taking strategies for the cessation of smoking will be an appropriate intervention.
  • Due to the potential of the worldwide epidemic of tobacco-related disease, it is also dependent on the power of public health department to accelerate the development of the less dangerous alternative to the conventional cigarette.
  • Consumer education should also be included as the necessary element of tobacco prevention programme in different countries. The effective mass media campaign will be useful in raising awareness and changing people attitude so that they analyze the risk of using tobacco and the health benefit of quitting smoking. It will be beneficial in preventing young people from starting smoking and increasing cessation among those people who smoke (World Health Organization. 2013).
  • Careful and planned legal restriction in reducing demand and consumption of tobacco product will act as an effective strategy in reducing public smoking (Mons et al., 2012).
  • Various countries have imposed bans on advertising and promotion of tobacco products. However having the support of both public and political support will be beneficial to achieve the set goal.

Conclusion

Thus, from the report on the impact of tobacco use among the general public, it can be concluded that public health department needs to take serious action to reduce its sale and use of tobacco products. The history of the use and emergence of tobacco industry gave an idea about the current scenario of the habit in different places. It also gave the reason about the that lead to the development of this habit among youths. Mostly people lack awareness about the heath risk related to tobacco consumption. Based on the implementation of different tobacco prevention policy and strategies in different countries, it gave the recommendation to improve the effectiveness of the proposed measure in future health outcome.

Reference

The Tobacco Atlas. (2016). Cigarette Use Globally. [online] Available at: http://www.tobaccoatlas.org/topic/cigarette-use-globally/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2016].

Edition.cnn.com. (2016). CNN Interactive – Tobacco under attack. [online] Available at: http://edition.cnn.com/US/9705/tobacco/history/ [Accessed 4 Sep. 2016].

Ng, M., Freeman, M.K., Fleming, T.D., Robinson, M., Dwyer-Lindgren, L., Thomson, B., Wollum, A., Sanman, E., Wulf, S., Lopez, A.D. and Murray, C.J., 2014. Smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption in 187 countries, 1980-2012. Jama, 311(2), pp.183-192.

Bilano, V., Gilmour, S., Moffiet, T., d’Espaignet, E.T., Stevens, G.A., Commar, A., Tuyl, F., Hudson, I. and Shibuya, K., 2015. Global trends and projections for tobacco use, 1990–2025: an analysis of smoking indicators from the WHO Comprehensive Information Systems for Tobacco Control.The Lancet, 385(9972), pp.966-976.

Méndez, D., Alshanqeety, O. and Warner, K.E., 2013. The potential impact of smoking control policies on future global smoking trends. Tobacco control,22(1), pp.46-51.

World Health Organization, 2013. WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2013: enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. World Health Organization.

Samet, J.M., 2013. Tobacco smoking: the leading cause of preventable disease worldwide. Thoracic surgery clinics, 23(2), pp.103-112.

Shiffman, J., Quissell, K., Schmitz, H.P., Pelletier, D.L., Smith, S.L., Berlan, D., Gneiting, U., Van Slyke, D., Mergel, I., Rodriguez, M. and Walt, G., 2016. A framework on the emergence and effectiveness of global health networks. Health policy and planning, 31(suppl 1), pp.i3-i16.

Gneiting, U. and Schmitz, H.P., 2016. Comparing global alcohol and tobacco control efforts: network formation and evolution in international health governance. Health policy and planning, 31(suppl 1), pp.i98-i109.

Rosenberg, M., Pettigrew, S., Wood, L., Ferguson, R. and Houghton, S., 2012. Public support for tobacco control policy extensions in Western Australia: a cross-sectional study. BMJ open, 2(2), p.e000784.

Guindon, G.E., Driezen, P., Chaloupka, F.J. and Fong, G.T., 2013. Cigarette tax avoidance and evasion: findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. Tobacco control, pp.tobaccocontrol-2013.

Adkison, S.E., O’Connor, R.J., Bansal-Travers, M., Hyland, A., Borland, R., Yong, H.H., Cummings, K.M., McNeill, A., Thrasher, J.F., Hammond, D. and Fong, G.T., 2013. Electronic nicotine delivery systems: international tobacco control four-country survey. American journal of preventive medicine, 44(3), pp.207-215.

Regan, A.K., Promoff, G., Dube, S.R. and Arrazola, R., 2013. Electronic nicotine delivery systems: adult use and awareness of the ‘e-cigarette’in the USA. Tobacco control, 22(1), pp.19-23.

Mons, U., Nagelhout, G.E., Allwright, S., Guignard, R., Van Den Putte, B., Willemsen, M.C., Fong, G.T., Brenner, H., Pötschke-Langer, M. and Breitling, L.P., 2012. Impact of national smoke-free legislation on home smoking bans: findings from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project Europe Surveys. Tobacco Control, pp.tobaccocontrol-2011.

Bunnell, R.E., Agaku, I.T., Arrazola, R., Apelberg, B.J., Caraballo, R.S., Corey, C.G., Coleman, B., Dube, S.R. and King, B.A., 2014. Intentions to smoke cigarettes among never-smoking US middle and high school electronic cigarette users, National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2011-2013.Nicotine & Tobacco Research, p.ntu166.

Dahlgren, D. and Whitehead, M., 2016. European Strategies for tackling social inequalities in health: levelling up part 2. World.

Lindson-Hawley, N., Aveyard, P. and Hughes, J.R., 2013. Gradual reduction vs abrupt cessation as a smoking cessation strategy in smokers who want to quit. Jama, 310(1), pp.91-92.

Tobaccoinaustralia.org.au. (2016). 10-1-the-global-tobacco-manufacturing-industry – Tobacco In Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au/chapter-10-tobacco-industry/10-1-the-global-tobacco-manufacturing-industry [Accessed 4 Sep. 2016].

 

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