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Middle Eastern, African Countries Should Do More To Address Rising Smoking Rates

Bloomberg: Stop Rising Tobacco Use in Africa and the Middle East: Editorial
Editorial Board

“…Smoking rates are rising fastest in low- and middle-income countries in [the Middle East and Africa], where control measures are relatively weak and tobacco is marketed mainly to men. To reverse this, governments need to more firmly confront the tobacco industry’s efforts to recruit the next generation of smokers. … Public health experts already know how to crack down on such practices and give people incentives to quit, or never start, smoking: by raising tobacco taxes … Taxes are the most cost-effective measure, because they both discourage smoking and provide a source of funding for anti-smoking campaigns and other tobacco-control efforts. Yet few Middle Eastern and African countries have fully imposed and enforced such rules. … One way to raise public support for tobacco control is to call out industry efforts to block or interfere with it … It’s essential, too, in these countries as everywhere, to monitor the tobacco industry’s use of social media to lure adolescents. … Tobacco use, as the entire world should know by now, is the single greatest preventable cause of death. Public health specialists in developed countries have spent decades learning how to fight back — and have saved lives by the millions. Countries in the Middle East and Africa simply need to follow suit” (6/26).

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