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WHO Releases New Guide On Tobacco Products

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched what is called a ‘new guide’ on tobacco product regulation with the aim of reducing tobacco demand, raise revenue to treat tobacco-related diseases,  and to save lives.

Smoking Tobacco

Although many countries have been able to come up with regulations to reduce the demand for tobacco, a silent killer, it still kills about seven million people yearly. The government still needs to put in more effort, and one way they can do this is by taking advantage of the tobacco product regulation.

‘ Tobacco product regulation : Building laboratory testing capacity ’ provides practical , stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing . Such guidance is relevant to a wide range of countries in various settings, including those with inadequate resources to establish a testing facility .

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This laboratory guide is a useful resource for countries , and provides regulators and policymakers with comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products , what products to test , and how to use testing data in a meaningful way to support regulation .

Further, it provides a step - by - step guide to developing a testing laboratory, using an existing internal laboratory, contracting an external laboratory, and making use of the available support mechanisms both within WHO and externally.

WHO  Director of the Department for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable diseases, Dr Douglas Bettcher , stated, “The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control , a global treaty established under the auspices of the WHO to combat the tobacco epidemic , has played a critical role in tobacco control . The launch of these important publications will further aid the implementation of Articles 9 and 10 of the WHO FCTC, contributing to building tobacco product regulation capacity in WHO Member States .

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“ Tobacco product regulation is an under - utilised tool which has a critical role to play in reducing tobacco use . The tobacco industry has enjoyed years of little or no regulation , mainly due to the complexity of tobacco product regulation and lack of appropriate guidance in this area . These new tools provide a useful resource to countries to either introduce or improve existing tobacco product regulation provisions and end the tobacco industry ‘ reign’

“ Only a handful of countries currently regulate the contents , design features and emissions of tobacco products . This means that tobacco products are one of the few openly available consumer products that are virtually unregulated in terms of contents , design features and emissions . ”

Dr Vinayak Prasad, head of WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, said:
Most countries hesitate to implement policies, due in part to the highly technical nature of such policy interventions and the difficulties in translating science into regulation.

“ Failure to regulate represents a missed opportunity as tobacco product regulation , in the context of comprehensive control , is a valuable tool that complements other tried and tested tobacco control interventions , such as raising taxes , and ensuring smoke - free environments, ” he concludes.