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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

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

[bctt tweet=”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. ” username=””]

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 during pregnancy linked to asthma severity in kids

Prenatal tobacco smoke exposure was associated with a 2.5 times increase in odds of having airflow obstruction in children with asthma

  • Smoking during pregnancy can be very dangerous
  • It can lead to asthma and poor lung function in the baby
  • It also can have serve effects on the health of the mother

Women who smoke while pregnant contribute to the severity of asthma and poor lung function in their children warns a study.

The findings published in the journal CHEST suggest that tobacco smoke exposure during pregnancy is more strongly associated with worse lung function than current, ongoing exposure in school-aged children with asthma.

Smoking during pregnancy can be unhealthy for the child.

“This study implicates maternal smoking in pregnancy as the period of second-hand exposure that is more strongly associated with worse lung function in asthmatic children,” said lead investigator Stacey-Ann Whittaker Brown from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York.

“Maternal smoking in pregnancy may set children with asthma on a trajectory of poor lung function in later childhood, and other studies suggest this effect may be lifelong,” Whittaker Brown said.

Investigators analysed the relationship between lung function and the type of second-hand smoke exposure in a representative sample of school-aged children aged six to 11 years.

Also Read: Why you should avoid Paracetamol during pregnancy

The sample consisted of 2,070 children who participated in the 2007-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the US.

Detailed information about ongoing second-hand smoke exposure as well as parental self-reported exposure prior to birth was obtained.

During the study period, lung function was measured using spirometry, and exposure to smoking was assessed through levels of cotinine in the blood, a marker of the extent of current second-hand smoke exposure. Thus, investigators were able to distinguish clearly between exposure in pregnancy and ongoing second-hand smoke exposure.

Protein responsible for postpartum depression in pregnancy found
Smoking during pregnancy is very dangerous. IANS

Nearly 10 percent of both children with and without asthma in the sample had reduced lung function.

Investigators found that current tobacco smoke exposure was independently associated with airflow obstruction in school-aged children, although the extent of the association was small.

However, prenatal tobacco smoke exposure was associated with a 2.5 times increase in odds of having airflow obstruction in children with asthma, the study said. IANS