Nav: Home

When the smoke clears... tobacco control in post-conflict settings

April 28, 2017

In new research published today by King's College London - Institute of Cancer Policy and the Conflict & Health Research Group in the journal ecancermedicalscience, the difficulties of prioritising preventable disease and long term health issues in post conflict zones are explored.

The paper particularly focuses on tobacco control. Globally, one in ten deaths is caused by smoking but in post-conflict zones tobacco usage rates are higher than global averages. This increase coupled with opportunistic industry activity and blackmarket trade poses long-term risks for public health.

The paper lays out effective tactics learnt from successes and failures in tobacco control and health policy from Vietnam, Iran and Croatia that can be used to limit the health threats to citizens in Iraq.

Prof Richard Sullivan, from the Institute of Cancer Policy and the Conflict & Health Research Group, London, UK and one of the authors of the review states "[Tobacco control] is essential but we recognise that this requires strong governance which is often missing. What is also clear is that what countries self declare to WHO around their tobacco control measures (and other NCD risk factor control measures) often does not hold up under practical scrutiny."

Taxation is reported by many institutions, including the WHO, as the most effective means of reducing demand, but between low import duties, open corruption, and recorded collusion between smuggling rings and tobacco firms, success has been limited in post conflict settings.

As for the longer-term prospects of disease development in the region, Prof Sullivan cautions "We know very little about the long-term effects; we can surmise that these are poor as more children and young adults take up smoking but to date there have been very few long-term studies. What we have seen already is an increase in tobacco smuggling, higher tobacco usage in women and dramatically lower quit rates."

While overall global smoking prevalence has decreased over the last 25 years (29.4% to 15.3%), population growth has meant that the overall number of smokers has increased by almost 60 million people.

Those rates are even higher in post conflict settings such as Iraq, an established importer/exporter of cigarettes, with a large smoking population (31% of men and 4% of women).

"This work was part of the KCL Conflict & Health Research Group thematic research into NCD control in conflict." says Prof Sullivan, "We know countries in conflict undergo radical changes in their exposure to pro NCD risk factors, yet there is little country specific analysis; working with collaborators from Iraq we were able to conduct this country specific research which provides a more practical, focused example of the issues and threat that tobacco plays in the conflict and post-conflict environments."


Related Smoking Articles:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.
What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.
Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.
Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.
Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.
Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.
A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.
A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.
More Smoking News and Smoking Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.