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India and Bangladesh seek alternative Crop for Tobacco, to avoid interference by Tobacco Industry in Welfare Programmes

Tobacco farming is a source of livelihood to 4.6 crore Indians but looking at the disease burden caused by tobacco, the government wants to curb tobacco farming

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Tobacco field. Pixabay

Greater Noida, November 11, 2016: India and Bangladesh on Thursday called for working towards finding an alternative crop for tobacco and avoiding interference by the tobacco industry in the welfare programmes.

Both countries have put a proposal before all members of the ongoing WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to engage relevant stakeholders and ministries of their governments in working towards the alternative crop.

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Taking into account the Article 17 and Article 18 of the convention, the two South Asian countries have also urged the international community to support mobilisation of resources to promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco growers and workers.

Article 17 of the convention includes the provision of support for economically viable alternative activities and Article 18 protection of the environment and the health of persons.

“We urge all the parties to call for policy coherence in the mandates of the governing bodies of relevant intergovernmental organisations,” said the draft copy — a copy of which is available with IANS.

According to Tobacco Institute of India (TII), tobacco is an extremely important commercial crop for the country as it contributes more than Rs 30,000 crore in tax revenue annually besides earning about Rs 6,000 crore in foreign exchange.

FILE - New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA
FILE – New findings show that smoking causes devastating genetic damage, or mutations, in the cells of various organs in the body. VOA

Tobacco farming is a source of livelihood to 4.6 crore Indians. Looking at the disease burden caused by tobacco, the government wants to curb tobacco farming. Click To Tweet

However, the tobacco growers in the last couple of months have staged a series of protests, demanding that the government provide alternate crops farming for their survival which could equate the income generated by the tobacco farming.

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The world’s biggest anti-tobacco convention WHO FCTC commenced at India Exposition Mart here on November 7. It was inaugurated by Health Minister J.P. Nadda and would conclude on November 12.

India and Bangladesh, through their draft, have also proposed the member nations of the WHO FCTC to coordinate with intergovernmental organisations with relevant expertise such as the Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to mobilise required support for interested parties in developing pilot projects.

“We want the member nations to promote international cooperation and the exchange of information among interested parties, including South-South and Triangular cooperation,” the draft report said.

“To continue to document experiences and lessons learnt concerning alternative livelihood, organise and periodically update international database of resources, within the WHO FCTC coordination platform, of best practices, instruments and measures to support the implementation of the policy options and recommendations,” said the draft report.

India and Bangladesh have also sought the WHO FCTC to monitor on parties in terms of implementation of the Article 17 and Article 18, and submit the progress reports during the next convention on the implementation of the present decisions, including the experiences gathered before the sessions.

In another proposal, India, Thailand and Uruguay have sought WHO FCTC members to create a forum for the discussions and explore possible legal options, under the auspices of the Convention of Parties (COP) and Convention Secretariat, to minimise the risk of the tobacco industry making undue use of international trade and investment instruments to target tobacco control measures.

The three countries, through their proposal, have also sought creation of expert groups to develop recommendations on combating the tobacco industry’s legal challenge to the sovereign right of the states to regulate tobacco as a public health measure.

“To develop options to provide special treatment of tobacco in trade and investment agreements, in considerations of its unique nature,” said the draft copy.

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The three nations have also sought that every party of the convention should nominate members to the expert group, with a maximum of three per World Health Organization (WHO) region, taking into account relevant technical expertise, in particular in treating tobacco uniquely in trade and investment agreements. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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Getting the best rolling papers – A small guide to having the best experience

Many rolling paper options these days are dangerous because they are infused with chemicals like chlorine. That’s of course not good at all for your body and you should try to avoid those kind of rolling papers as hard as you can.

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Choosing the right rolling papers can make a big difference in how your experience goes overall. (representative image) Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 7, 2017 : Smoking is something that requires you to do some shopping once in a while. Whether you’re new to smoking or have been on SmokeCartel for ages, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to buy rolling papers in order to, well, smoke. However, choosing the right rolling papers can make a big difference in how your experience goes overall. There used to be a time when it was cool not to pay any attention to what you’re using as rolling paper. However, those times are fortunately gone and now consumers such as yourself can make the right decision when it’s time to roll. Here are some tips on how to get the best rolling papers.

The importance of going for the natural choice

Many rolling paper options these days are dangerous because they are infused with chemicals like chlorine. That’s of course not good at all for your body and you should try to avoid those kind of rolling papers as hard as you can. Not only do they put you in harm’s way, but they also tend to change the taste of the herb you’re smoking. Not to mention that if you’re the kind of smoker that likes to keep their herb organic, it would be highly counterproductive to just toss that into the trash in favor of a chemical-filled rolling paper option.

Choosing the best brands

If you want to have the best smoking sessions, you need to invest in the best brands available, which treat rolling papers with care and attention. Here are the names that you want to embed into your smoker memory as soon as possible:

Elements

This company offers great rolling papers, in a cool package that features a small magnet as a mechanism for keeping the package shut when it’s not being used. The papers themselves are of great quality. The rice paper rolls are incredibly thin, and a pack can hold up to 100 leaves depending on the size option you go for.

RAW Organic

RAW Organic offers tan and really thin rolling papers. According to them anyway, the papers are organic and naturally grown. You can’t help but appreciate the craft that goes into making these, but also their effectiveness and resistance. RAW Organic papers are known to be run-resistant.’

Zen Effen

Zen Effen sells their papers in paper packaging. They are naturally grown, hemp gum papers, and represent one of the thinnest options that you have in terms of high quality rolling papers. At least, as far as hemp papers are concerned. Throughout their time on the market, Zen Effen have managed to provide a very high quality combination of great flavor, on-point burn time and resistance.

Skunk Brand

Don’t let the name fool you, as we’re not talking about some newcomers that want to amaze with the name alone. They have actually been around since 1994, when they helped popularized hemp papers. These papers are known for their slow burn are made out of pure hemp.

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Have you switched from Cigarettes to E-Cigarettes? Beware! Vapor smoke from E-cigarettes are just as harmful, says a new research

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.  

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Do you believe e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to smoking? Think again. Pixabay

North Carolina, October 23, 2017 : Vaping and e-cigarettes comprise a considerably new trend in the market, having been around for only for a decade or so. While their use has not been widespread, with mostly the younger population choosing it, a majority of the people are not even aware about it. However, out of those who know, it is a common belief that e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to regular smoking.

Contrary to regular cigarettes that burn tobacco, e-cigarettes deliver nicotine to the smoker in the form of water vapor. Due to this diluted consumption, most people imagine vaping is healthier than smoking. But is that really true?

While it will not be wrong to say that e-cigarette vapor smoke does not contain the same composition and amount of carcinogenic compounds as regular cigarette smoke, a new research suggests that ‘vaping’ may have its own harmful effects.

According to researchers from the University of North Carolina, the use of e-cigarettes can lead to inflammatory lung disease, triggered by extremely harmful response in the lung to the vapor smoke.

The Study Findings 

For the study that has been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine researchers examined the sputum samples of 44 non-smokers, e-cigarette users, and current cigarette smokers. Sputum is a combination of saliva and mucus, coughed from the respiratory tract which is often caused by some infection or disease.

  • Analysis found that the batch of e-cigarette smokers had a significant increase in neutrophil granulocyte- and neutrophil-extracellular-trap (NET)-related proteins, which are our immune system’s first line of defense against infection causing pathogens.
  • However, it was also revealed that while neutrophils are helpful in combating infectious pathogens, they are also known to contribute to lung diseases like COPD (a group of lung diseases that block the air flow, making it difficult to breathe) and cystic fibrosis (a life threatening disorder that gravely damages the lungs and the digestive system).
  • Additionally, the researchers also identified a similar positive trend in specific biomarkers of oxidative stress between e-cigarette users and regular cigarette smokers that have been understood as causative of lung diseases.
  • Furthermore, common increase in mucinn 5AC, which is associated with asthma and chronic bronchitis, was revealed in both, e-cigarette and cigarette users.

While smoking, in any way, is harmful, it is  important to note here that regular cigarette smoke and vapor smoke are two different compounds which can (and do) have different effects on the body. According to Dr. Mehmet Kesimer, senior author of the new study, “Comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is a little like comparing apples to oranges.”

ALSO READ Banning E-Cigarettes Deprives Indian Smokers of a Less Harmful Alternative: Experts

The senior researcher added that the research shows that e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung, which is very similar to that of regular cigarettes, but also unique in its own way. A broader understanding of the harm done by vapor smoke can thus, have implications that challenge the popular belief that it is healthier alternative to consume vapor smoke from e-cigarettes than regular smoking.

It must be noted here that this study was carried out on a small and limited scale, with most e-cigarette smokers previously being cigarette smokers. This duplicity makes it difficult to clearly identify if the study results are strictly related to use of e-cigarettes and vapor smoke.

There have been numerous studies about the harm of e-cigarettes in relation to that of regular cigarettes. However, what makes the study extremely important is its analysis of the unique or novel ways that e-cigarettes could be causing harm to our bodies.

In increasing number of studies previously published have revealed how it is a healthier lifestyle choice to switch from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes. But, new researches have begun to trace the long-term adverse effects of e-cigarettes, which are challenging this switch.

If you are still wondering, the only completely healthy alternative to cigarette smoking is to completely quit smoking.