Wednesday February 20, 2019

New Heated Tobacco To Be Regulated As A Other Tobacco Products

World Health Organization notes that illnesses related to regular tobacco products prematurely kill more than 7 million people every year.

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tobacco, WHO
This is a diagram of R.J. Reynolds' Eclipse cigarette, which featured a carbon tip that was lit, heating the tobacco instead of burning it. The product did not do well during market tests; it was rebranded as Revo but still failed to catch on with consumers. The product is no longer listed on the company's website. VOA

Delegates from 148 parties to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control are calling for new heated tobacco products on the market to be regulated in the same way cigarettes and other tobacco products are.

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are not e-cigarettes. They are products that contain nicotine and other chemicals, which are inhaled by users, through the mouth. The tobacco industry markets these devices as being less harmful than regular cigarettes.

But the head of the convention secretariat, Vera da Costa e Silva, said there was no evidence that HTPs are less harmful than conventional tobacco products. She said they are tobacco products in the same way as cigarettes and should be subject to the same regulations imposed on standard tobacco products under the treaty.

tobacco
E-cigarettes is considered to be safer than tobacco cigarettes. Pixabay

“Governments should implement … a ban on advertisement, promotion and sponsorship” of heated tobacco products, da Costa said. “Parties to the treaty are legally bound to the provisions of the treaty and they should regulate heated tobacco accordingly.”

Da Costa told VOA the tobacco industry is marketing heated tobacco products as a harm-reduction strategy. She said many are sold with flavors, which appeal to young people. For now, she said, the products are mainly being marketed in developed countries.

tobacco
The worldwide prevalence of tobacco smoking has decreased from 27 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2016, so progress has been made. Pixabay

“But they are already being marketed very aggressively with high lobbying, and there are many, many concerns,” she said. “Lots of concerns raised by African countries, Latin American countries, Asian countries that do not feel they are prepared for this epidemic of heated tobacco products.”

Also Read: Usage of E-cigarettes In American Teens Have Reached ‘Epidemic Proportions’: FDA

Da Costa said evidence is accumulating that the nicotine inhaled from HTPs is unhealthy, causing dependence and disease. The long-term health impact from vaping is not yet clear. But the World Health Organization notes illnesses related to regular tobacco products prematurely kill more than 7 million people every year. (VOA)

Next Story

WHO Makes Progress In Controlling Ebola In Congo

In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated.

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Ebola, COngo
Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders)-supported Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

Six months after the outbreak of Ebola was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, the World Health Organization is expressing cautious optimism that it is making headway in controlling the spread of the deadly virus.

Latest figures reported by the WHO show 752 cases of Ebola, including 465 deaths.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, says progress in containing the spread of the virus is due to a number of public health measures, including the training of health workers on infection prevention and control, closer engagement with communities, case investigation and contact tracing.

Ebola
Medical staff are sterilized before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, on Aug. 17, 2018, where there is one suspected case of Ebola. VOA

She says the use of a vaccine and promising new drugs have been a boon to these efforts.

“I feel optimistic,” Moeti said. “I am very clear that we need to continue this work. We need to make sure that in the places where we have made progress, we build on this progress and we do not go back. And, we are being very, very conscious of the fact that we need to invest to improve the preparedness both in the DRC areas that are highest at risk and, most importantly, in the surrounding countries that are at risk.”

Ebola, mother
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers talk to a worker at an isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 20, 2018. VOA

The risk of the virus spreading to countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan is very high because of the heavy cross-border traffic among the countries, Moeti said. However, she added, surveillance and preparedness activities have been enhanced on both sides of the border.

Also Read: WHO Calls for Accelerated Action To Eliminate Cervical Cancer

She says there is extensive monitoring at border crossings and improvements have been made in screening people for the virus. In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated. Moeti said a similar vaccination campaign began two days ago in South Sudan. (VOA)