Tuesday, August 30, 2005

China Ratifies World Health Organization Tobacco Control Framework

The leadership of China, concerned about the devastating impact of tobacco on their nation which has become the world's largest consumer of tobacco, has ratified the WHO(World Health Organization) framework to control tobacco use. This is an important step towards stemming the 1.2 million tobacco deaths each year as well as harm, injury and death to nonusers including children from secondhand smoke.

China announced that sales of cigarettes via vending machines would be immediately banned. And with a full 36% of China's population smoking, which is far worse than the 19-21% of Amercans that smoke, the costs to society in lost productivity, unneccessary medical costs and injuries is immense. The costs of smoking to a society can even rival the cost of a small war in increased medical costs and lost productivity.

Here are some important facts related to the devastating impact of tobacco:

In Tennessee, a smoking parent is enough grounds to deny child custody in the case of a divorce to that parent according to child welfare guidelines followed by judges in that state.

In Istanbul, Turkey a medical center found that 74% of children aged 3-8 who required ear tube surgery due to inner ear infection had the presense of a chemical that indicated nicotine in the child's urine. This means that secondhand smoke was the most likely factor to create inner ear infections in most young children.

In the U.S., Philip Morris USA issued an Email that accepted responsibility for secondhand cigarette smoke as a cause of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Perhaps the smaller immune system of infants cannot tolerate the 4,000 poisons contained in cigarettes and death is caused by cigarette smoke poisoning.

In Britain, children as young as 12 who have become nicotine drug addicts by smoking are now being given nicotine patches to control their addiction.

In the U.S. while 5.4 million children yearly survive injuries from secondhand cigarette smoke such as asthma and inner ear infections, costing $4.6 billion a year to treat, another 6,200 children die from injuries from secondhand cigarette smoke.

A Japanese study linked parents smoking to discolored gums in children as well as cavities and gum disease. Secondhand smoke destroys the oral health of children whose immune systems cannot defend against these poisons which include heavy metals such as lead, nickel and cadmium. A full 70% of children in the study who had a smoking parent at least suffered gum discoloration.

The U.S. Department of Human Services blames secondhand smoke for lung and sinus cancers as well as respiratory infections.

The U.S. Surgeon General blames the asthma epidemic on secondhand smoke. The rate of asthma is greatly increasing in the U.S. , and public smoking is a likely cause.

In Oregon, discarded cigarettes accounted for 95 fires in the last three weeks. This included a school fire that destroyed the school, an apartment building fire, and 93 grass or wooded areas fires. These fires are expensive in property and environmental damage, as well could involve the injury or loss of lives of firefighters or other persons.

The tobacco industry which is mainly located in the U.S. has long profitted from promoting a drug addiction that causes persons with no will power to practice their addiction in public places and spread death and injury to children and nonsmokers. At least the government of China is accepting the challenge to follow the WHO guidelines to protect the health of it's massive population. In the U.S., the lobby efforts of big tobacco still roadblock most legislation, but with China and other states taking the lead, more American politicians may respond with proper actions to ban public smoking and greatly limit this immoral and evil industry which injures and kills children and nonsmokng adults.

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