Nowadays,the tobacco consumption is one of the biggest public health threats in Myanmar.It’s likely the same as an epidermic disease, killing about 65,000 every year , according to the World Health Organization’s statistics in 2018. Life expectancy of Myanmar people has declined to 63,9 years for men and 69.9 years for women respectively according to the 2014 Myanmar census, as death-tolls from tobacco related diseases are higher.The figures show that Myanmar has lower life expectancy in comparison with neighboring countries.
According to research data, 44 per cent of men in Myanmar consumed tobacco, and quid with tobacco is consumed by 62 percent of the men.In ASEAN countries, Myanmar is the highest percentage of quid consumption with tobacco leaf products. This is becoming the main challenge for our people’s health and development of the country.Smoking cigarettes and daily continuous consumption of tobacco leaf products including quid are widely increasing among the people, both among men and women.
What are tobacco and tobacco related products which the people consume daily?The products are cheroots,traditional hand rolled cheroots,cigars,betel quid with tobacco (Kwunyar) and wet tobacco soaked with alchohol or honey.
This is also the biggest health threat the world has ever faced, killing more than 7 million people a year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke, according to WHO.
Myanmar has been selected as one of 15 countries worldwide to receive dedicated international support from the United Nations through the “FCTC 2030 project” to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The project aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes explicit attention to tobacco control. In accordance with this support,the public awareness campaign against consuming betel quid and use of tobacco products was launched at the Ministry of Health and Sports in Nay Pyi Taw in 2017. Dr Myint Htwe, Mininster of Health and Sport said the six-month national campaign will help to warn people about the real harms of chewing betel quid.
“In particular, we want to protect our youths from starting to chew. This is also a major focus of our National Health Plan 2017-2021,” he added.
In Myanmar,consumption of betel quid with tobacco has been a tradition for years.Now many of Myanmar people including youths are addicted to it while the figures of WHO research and government officials are revealing death rate to them. How can we change the bad habit of tobacco consumption?The government? Or ourselves?For the sake of our future blood and the country, we have to overcome the longterm addiction to tobacco related products.Let’s protect the biggest health threat of our nation by keeping away from tobacco products!