Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Governments should stop subsidizing tobacco crops

On World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging governments to give up tobacco crops and instead support more sustainable crops that can feed millions of people.

“Tobacco is responsible for 800 million deaths a year, and yet governments around the world spend millions to support its culture,” said the Director General of the Organization.

“By choosing to grow food over tobacco, we are prioritizing health, preserving ecosystems and strengthening food security for all,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added.

Illnesses, debts and school dropout

More than three hundred million people around the world face severe food insecurity. Meanwhile, more than three million hectares of land in more than 120 countries are used to grow deadly tobacco, even in countries where people fast.

The organization’s new report, Growing Food, Not Tobacco, explores the pitfalls and benefits of growing food crops to support communities, economies, the environment, and farmers.

In this sense, the report denounces the tobacco industry as trapping farmers “in a vicious cycle of debt, promoting tobacco cultivation by increasing economic benefits and putting pressure on agricultural circles.”

In addition, the document indicates that tobacco cultivation causes diseases in the farmers themselves and it is estimated that more than a million children work in tobacco farms, losing the opportunity to receive an education.

“Tobacco is not only a serious threat of food danger, but of overall health, including tobacco farmers. Farmers use chemical pesticides, tobacco smoke and as much nicotine as in 50 Spaniards, which receive both chronic and chronic diseases. Lung conditions and nicotine poisoning,” said the UN director Health promotion.

To avoid the expansion of Africa

According to the Organization’s experts, this crop is a global problem. “So far it has been placed in Asia and South America, but the latest data shows that tobacco companies are expanding into Africa. Since 2005, the arable land across the continent has increased by almost 20%”.

The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program are supporting the Tobacco Free Farms initiative, which will allow more than 5,000 farmers in Kenya and Zambia to grow food instead of tobacco.

In addition, World No Tobacco Day each year honors those who make a difference in the power of this work. This year one of the laureates of Sprina Robi Chacha, a Kenyan farmer, is recognized not only for changing from tobacco to high protein beans, but also for educating hundreds of other farmers in how to create a healthier community.

Award Winners in Latin America

This year, the Organization of Health Professionals, researchers, officials, public institutions and companies awarded Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay, for their contributions to tobacco control.

Dr. Reina Roa, from Panama, received the Special Recognition Award for her 20 years of dedicated work to eradicate smoking. He played a key role in Panama’s ratification of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. In addition, it contributed to reducing the prevalence rate of tobacco use among people over 15 years of age in the country to 5.1% in 2020, the lowest in the country.

ACT Promoção da Saúde and the Center for Tobacco and Health Studies of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation of Brazil received a joint award for having contributed significantly to the achievements of tobacco control in Brazil and to the understanding of the socio-environmental impact of tobacco cultivation and production.

Blanca Llorente Carreño and Luz Reynales Shigematsu, from Colombia and Mexico, jointly received the grant, recognizing their long-term contributions to tobacco control research and advocacy in their countries and in the region.

The Mexican Organizations Salud Justa Mx, Polithink, Coalición México Salud-Hable, Códice SC (Comunicación, Diálogo y Conciencia SC) and Refleacciona con Responsabilidad AC jointly award for the tireless effort and perseverance of more than a decade of organizers to implement. effective tobacco control measures in line with the FTC in your country.

The Research Center for the Tobacco Epidemic of Uruguay and the Uruguayan Society of Tabacology have been recognized for their joint assistance in maintaining the application of plain packaging for tobacco products in their country in 2012.

End support

In all, the 182 Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have committed to “promote viable economic options for workers and producers. One way large countries can meet this commitment is if they support their culture and support healthier.

WHO advises that by choosing to grow food instead, prioritize health, preserve ecosystems and increase food security.

Nation World News Desk
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