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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
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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

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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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Smoking marijuana may lead non-smokers to cigarettes

As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, the researchers said

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lung cancer
Cigarette smoking is injurious to health. Pixabay

If you only smoke marijuana there are higher chances that you may end up smoking cigarettes too, a new study suggests. According to the researchers, cannabis use is associated with an increased initiation of cigarette smoking among non-cigarette smokers.

While cigarette smoking has long been on the decline, marijuana use is on the rise and, disproportionately, marijuana users also smoke cigarettes, the researcher said.

Marijuana use can increase cigarette use too. VOA

“Understanding the potential links between cannabis use and cigarette initiation in youth is needed given that recent data suggest that cannabis use is more common among adolescents than cigarette use,” said co-author Renee Goodwin from the Mailman School of Public Health.

The analyses for the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, were based on data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005, and responses from 34,639 individuals.

Also Read: Stop smoking and eat healthy to avoid obesity

The results suggested that marijuana use — even in the absence of cannabis use disorder — is associated with increased odds of smoking onset, relapse, and persistence.

They also found adults who smoke cigarettes and use cannabis are less likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who do not use cannabis. Former smokers who use cannabis are also more likely to relapse to cigarette smoking, the researcher said.

Cigarette smoking can be increased in youngsters due to use of marijuana. Pixabay

“Developing a better understanding of the relationship between marijuana use and cigarette use transitions is critical and timely as cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease, and use of cannabis is on the rise in the US,” Goodwin said.

As cannabis use is much more common than cannabis use disorder, its potential impact on cigarette use in the general community may be greater than estimates based on studies of cannabis use disorder alone, the researchers said. IANS