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25% of death in Iran caused by tobacco: Minister

May 31: World No Tobacco Day

Iran's 57 cigarettes

TEHRAN, June 1 (Mehr News Agency) -- Smoking is responsible for 25% of death in the country, Iranian Health Minister Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani announced in Tehran on Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day, Lankarani lamented the fact that there was 4%-5% fall in the country's average smoking age.

About 20% of adult male and 4.5% of adult female population in the country smoke tobacco, Lankarani said.

Smokers comprise 14% of the country's adult population, the minister said, explaining that the rate is projected to be reduced to less than 10% through a five-year plan.

Calling anti-drug campaign a national responsibility, Lankarani urged all government and non-government organizations to interact well with the Health Ministry to achieve better results.

Lankarani also accused world's tobacco companies of using "misleading labels" such as mild or light and false images of good health and fitness.

Putting stress on the importance of attaching health warning labels to all cigarette and tobacco packets, the minister called on all governments to adopt tobacco health warnings, appear on both the front and back of the pack and contain pictures in a bid to increase public knowledge about devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

On popular myth, recognizing tobacco less toxic, Lankarani said that hookah smoking's hazardous effects are 40 to 100 times the cigarette's ones.

Nearly 18,000 of Iranians AIDS sufferers

He also referred to the country's AIDS rate and said, "About 18,000 of Iranians are infected with HIV"

"Men account for more than 94% of AIDS victims throughout the country ... and less than 6% of the country's AIDS sufferers are women," Lankarani told reporters.

Tobacco Health Warnings

The World Health Organization (WHO) selects "Tobacco Health Warnings" as the theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day, observed on 31 May 2009 throughout the world.

And in the Islamic Republic, the Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association (IATA), with the cooperation of the National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (NRITLD), organizes No Tobacco Week each year from May 24 to 31.

Tobacco health warnings appear on packs of cigarettes and are among the strongest defenses against the global epidemic of tobacco.

Tobacco health warnings that contain both pictures and words are the most effective ways of convincing people to quit. Such pictorial warnings have appeared in more than a dozen countries, including Iran.

Tobacco-related illnesses

According to BBC, women in developing countries as well as in Japan, Germany and the United States are increasingly taking up smoking or are exposed to passive smoking.

In the United States lung cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among women.

It has long been known that pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk of miscarrying or giving birth to weak babies prone to infection.

But the report underlines that women smokers are more likely to be infertile, have difficulty getting pregnant, and risk an earlier menopause.

Furthermore, new evidence shows that parents who smoke can seriously harm the health of their children, who are more prone to asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.

... Payvand News - 06/01/09 ... --

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