The World Health Organisations (WHO) in March 2018 launched 'Tobacco Product Regulation: Building Laboratory Testing Capacity', new regulation on tobacco products pressing the need for clear, practical advice on building laboratory testing capacity.
The Tobacco Product Regulation was launched during the 2018 World Conference on Tobacco or Health in Cape Town.
Highlights of the Tobacco Product Regulation
• It provides realistic and systematic approach to implement tobacco testing.
• It is relevant to a wide range of countries in various settings, even those with inadequate resources to establish a testing facility.
• It is a useful resource for countries and provides regulators and policymakers with clear information on how to test tobacco products, what products to be tested and how to use testing data in a meaningful way.
• It also provides a guide to develop a testing laboratory using an existing internal laboratory, contracting an external laboratory and making use of the available support mechanisms.
• It calls for country prioritization and commitment of resources to tobacco product regulation.
Why was there a need for Tobacco Product Regulation?
Despite the devastating effects of tobacco use, only a few countries currently regulate tobacco products such as how the product is made, the contents of the product and emissions to which users can be exposed.
Failure to regulate tobacco use embodies a missed opportunity as tobacco product regulation is a valuable tool that can balance with other tried and tested tobacco control interventions, such as raising taxes, smoke-free environments, etc.
Facts about tobacco and tobacco control
• Tobacco use is a global health burden and its use leads to more than 7 million deaths every year and it is predicted by WHO that figure may grow to more than 8 million a year by 2030 without intensified action.
• Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty.
• Tobacco plantation requires large amounts of pesticides and fertilizers, which can be toxic and pollute water supplies. Each year, tobacco growing uses 4.3 million hectares of land, resulting in global deforestation between 2 per cent and 4 per cent.
• By increasing cigarette taxes worldwide by USD 1, an extra USD 190 billion could be raised for development.
• High tobacco taxes contribute to revenue generation for governments, reduce demand for tobacco, and offer an important revenue stream to finance development activities.