by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
According to a survey conducted by World Health Organisation, over 1.3 million people die of tobacco consumption in South East Asia every year.
Consisting of nearly 250 million smokers, South East Asia’s tobacco control and prevention fight continues to be a difficult battle for many.
In a Policy Research Working Paper on ‘Determinants of Tobacco Consumption in Papua New Guinea’, “tobacco consumption is an important development challenge in Papua New Guinea and Papua New Guinea is among the top ten countries in the world in terms of tobacco consumption”.
An estimated 40 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea consume tobacco. While the battle continues to be a difficult one for advocates, consumers and non-consumers, many lose their battle.
In an inauguration meeting of WHO’s South East Asia Regional Committee, Dr Poonam Khetraoal Singh, the regional director for South East Asia, said “tobacco kills nearly six million people annually with over 600 000 deaths due to exposure to second hand smoke”.
As the highest producer and user of tobacco, this has contributed highly to the amount of deaths per year in South East Asia Region. Believed to be highly alarming in the region, tobacco consumption and use has triggered major health and economic consequences in the region.
Concerns are now raised for tougher actions to be taken to control, monitor and reduce the death rates in the region per year.