Ever wondered how intriguing plants are? They are all around us and we use them every day of our lives in different ways knowingly or unknowingly they provided us with breathable air, they give us food and nutrients, they are used for decorations and medicine and so much more.
Among all these plants we have a very addictive type of plant named Tobacco, found in all most every part of the world with more than 70 different species, it’s popular among those find interest in it. It consists of highly addictive contents like Stimulant alkaloid nicotine as well as harmala alkaloids. The use of tobacco comes with risk factors leading to death and diseases. It affects our health to a great wavelength, as the use of such tobacco related products affects our heart, lungs and liver later leading to cancer as well.
The discovery of tobacco took place in South America and was found by the native people of Mesoamerica. It was later introduced to Europe and then later to the whole world with existence of it being dated centuries past our current time. It was said that during those times, the native people of that era used it for trade and inhaled the smokes by burning the tobacco leaves in ceremonies and give it as a token of appreciation to peoples and was said to be a gift from the gods and helped them convey their thoughts to the almighty lords with the smokes it generated.
With the passing of time we come to the modern age where tobacco is used in many products like cigars, cigarettes, bidis, kreteks and such. With this also came many diseases and problems which were mostly related to the lungs as they were caused by the inhalation of tobacco smoke. There was even a time in the late 90s where advertisers would advertise the brands of cigarettes while saying it was healthy for them to use it. After some research about the plant and about its affect in our body there was an act put forward to lessen or stop smoking. The World health organization in 1987 passed a resolution calling for 7th April 1988 to be a “World No Smoking Day” and with the success of that, In 1988 another resolution was passed calling for the celebration of “World No Tobacco Day” every year on 31st of may. And with every year that passes by a new theme is chosen every year to celebrate ‘World No Tobacco Day’ and for this year 2021 the theme is “Commit to Quit”.
In Nepal it is one of the most serious issues as around 27,100 premature deaths happen only due to the intake of tobacco and this number has shown us about how much tobacco is used by our citizens on daily basis. With a study done on the people around Nepal it was found that tobacco consumption was higher among illiterates, men, older people, people living in rural and mountainous areas and those who initiated smoking as adolescents. Some factors that initiated in smoking was due to peer pressure, less knowledge regarding smoking, curiosity and smoking habits picked up from parents/family.
And with every day that passes by the number of people getting involved in such smoking Cases are inclining. As for the declination of such acts of use of tobacco different methods such as Advertisement has been used so that people may be aware of the affect it causes in our body and how harmful tobacco consumption is. Whenever a person buys a cigarette or any Products related to tobacco there is a warning given in the front and as well as in the back of that products cover. Even in the cinemas or when we are about to watch a movie or doing an interval between different live TV shows we all have heard “Smoking causes cancer smoking kills and drinking is injurious to health”. Even with all of this precautions that are being taken, we still question as to why not ban tobacco and all the tobacco products overall? With a country such as ours that has very little income source and not much of a stable government it is hard to do so. As our country also benefits from the income that comes from the tax that is paid to the government by the companies that sell tobacco products such as ‘Cigarettes’, ‘Gutka’, ‘khaini’ etc.
About 0.04% of our agricultural land in Nepal is used for growing tobacco. The taxation of tobacco related products in Nepal is significantly below the WHO standard of 70% of retail price. As to the report of 2019, Nepal has imposed 15.5% of the retail price while excluding the VAT, which is the lowest among all of the South Asian countries. As Nepal only has minuscule percentage of profit in the tobacco industry from all around the world with Nepal generating around 14 billion NPR from the tobacco industry. From the report of 2019 the Sales for the legal global tobacco market were worth approximately US $818 billion, according to the most recent estimates.
In today’s scenario when we are currently facing pandemic and with the spread of COVID-19 throughout the world. There is also a factor played by smoking as smoking itself causes decrease in the immunity and the lifespan of a person’s lungs which makes it easier for the corona virus to take its host. Those People who smoke have a high chance of getting COVID-19 test they already have damage most of the lungs which makes The virus more easy for it to penetrate our bodies respiratory system. And when people share the same cigarettes or cigars or even ‘Hukkas’ there is a chance of spread of Covid-19 in between them.
To avoid such circumstances of getting sick and getting addicted to such things as tobacco, we must all help each other in reducing its consumption and spread awareness towards all the people and help them quit in time so that there might be a better future for all of us.
Uses of tobacco products just doesn’t affect our health but also it affects our life altogether, the life we share with our family and parents, our social life and the life we share with our loved ones all are affected. This even affect on our mental health and also our economic condition. If we spent out money and time on these products, it will gravely affect us. So stop using tobacco and discourage others also to use such products to create healthy living environment and also to live healthy life.