The framework convention on tobacco control is the world health organization’s first and initial treaty negotiated and adopted in 2003, by WHO’s member states for the purpose worldwide public health and organization/unions accountability. In other words, it is a legitimate global agreement initiated under an international body of World Health Assembly (WHA). It currently comprises of about 190 member states.
The drafting of FCTC followed after much consideration on the damage caused by some of the products and services offered locally and international either by individuals or corporations. It specifically wanted to address several issues about tobacco products and their processes. Following such kind of reasoning, it is more closely deemed as a measure aimed at saving and protecting thousands or millions of human lives put under danger through the use of tobacco goods (Hawkes and Yach, 2007, 1)
While the FCTC agreement acts as a guideline for health mitigation, it has the power for a gradual eradication of many tobacco-related problems. The FCTC mainly deal with the menace under the fragmented sub-contents of illicit trading, liability in selling tobacco products to minor group, promotions and sponsorships, regulations and information disclosure of the product, products labeling and advertisement, education, training and public awareness on the product dangers, tobacco-product dependences and cessation procedures, protection of passive smokers/second-hand smoking exposure and others.
The major function for the creation of the treaty appears to have been anchored on the idea of total elimination of tobacco-related problem, and perhaps, its formulation seems to have had come in the right time in 1990s, when numerous states wanted to engage in more closely relationship on the formation of trade unions.
The FCTC was also developed to respond to the many issues of international imbalances between the poor and rich states, whereby the citizens from poorer nations were being exposed to dangerous materials, tobacco being the major one. From this point of view, the establishment of the FCTC treaty was to combat the idea of blatant and malicious exposure of the poor individuals to dangers of tobacco; the fight that was necessary to reduce the tobacco epidemic both in the developed and developing nations.
The mitigations or eradication of the larger number of tobacco problems would thus reverse the current trend of population decrease, deterioration of the world’s economy, through restoration and maintaining of good human health that would be translated to increased involvement in economic and developmental activities, while at the same time decreasing expenditure on tobacco-related problems. In brief, the FCTC has its basis on health and economic factors.
Since the inception of FCTC in 2003, there are a lot of literature materials that have been produced on the subject of tobacco in the efforts of finding solutions toward tobacco problems. Some of these contents are found online in form of soft copy, while others are stored in form of hard copies within different organizations, or institutions. in my effort of finding such relevant materials which contain helpful information and data that addresses and that may be used to address the tobacco menace, I came about two articles which appeared to attract my attention deeply than any of those other materials which I trampled on or my eye set sight on.
These two articles were entitled as ‘implementing smoke-free environment’ and smoking cessation and the right to health respectively. Though not very much sure of what led to the drawing of much attention and having an in-depth view on the material, I believe that its contents and subject matter had some kind of spontaneous attraction forces, which would make any of the individuals with human senses to respond by having a second thought concerning it. The major reason that these materials were of exceptional significance on my life side is because they majorly appeared to address two key strategies/techniques helpful in the addressing the tobacco problems locally as well as at the international realms (U.S. Office of the Surgeon General, 2006, 6).
While I proceeded further to unveil much of the tobacco matters in them, I felt much challenged to leave the dual-topics by the thinking that they were the most important ways through which innumerable individuals would be saved and redeemed from the dungeons of tobacco ruins. Based on the anticipated results, I was inspired on researching more of their implementation in different regions or nations. For that matter, I would like to share some of the chips on the implementation of the two strategies in three countries, namely, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, according to the ability that I managed to acquire them from the enormous published work
The choice of the three countries was not done by chance method, that is using arbitrary random technique, but it was however based on a logical and rational grounds. The logical and rationality grounds are affirmed by the statistical data considerations which were put on making the selections. The world health organization’s statistics indicated that an estimate of five millions people dies from tobacco problems annually, with about 50 % of these dying in the developing nations.
The report also showed that more than half a million persons die as second-hand smokers each year. Surprisingly, the values shown in the report are expected to increase globally and double within the next three coming decades. However, worryingly to most of the anti-tobacco producers are that the increase would be disproportionate with the increased skewed much to the developing states, whereby the three countries being looked upon here are drawn. On a more precise way, the venturing into this study was focused on revealing on how well prepared are the developing nations might be willing and in a position of tackling the tobacco menace through the implementation of some of the key FCTC components (Hawkes and Yach, 2007, 5).
Cessation and smoke-free environment are two of key strategies which FCTC advocates for as methods of abolishing the tobacco burden. Whereas these components are being included in the FCTC literature, the implementation of two strategies differs from one nation to another, as it may be necessitated by the prevailing environment in the region or country. Even though this may be true to some extend, such statement does not hold and remain true for nations which have closely related features, as it may be revealed with the examination and exploration of the selected trio nations which belongs to the cohort of the developing countries (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2004, 8).
From the two articles, it was indisputably affirmed that large number of the citizens in the three nations possessed the highest risk of tobacco shocking effects. Most of residences in the three states: Kenya, Uganda and Sudan were described as addicts and ardent consumers of the tobacco products. This showed that both smoke-free environment and cessation implementation would have played critical role in the endeavor of ending culture and tradition of tobacco use and consumption in these countries. In Kenyan, where the percentage of men’s population is less than that of females, had the lowest percent of male tobacco consumers as compared to the other two states. Even though there is gap existing based on gender factor, the overall tobacco consumption rates in the three states appear almost the same.
On focusing in the specific organizations, institutions and individuals, the degree/level of cessation and smoke-free implementation protocol became much clearer than taking into account the entire state. First, the Kenyan government as well as Ugandan and Sudanese ruling authorities seemed to have been neo-born in the field of cessation. Although most of the individuals in the state governing authorities were undoubtedly much aware of term cessation, only very few number of them put it into actual practise other than making it a word that is included in the literature work of FCTC descriptions and discussion or the psycho-physiological materials.
Evidences from different reports portrayed little degree or total lack of the government devotion in area of cessation processes. Cessation procedures support in Kenya and Uganda had some government’s trace marks, which could only be revealed through doing much research in several governmental departments or sectors. Undeniably, these efforts were being generally channeled through the sector of health and its closely related divisions/departments (Hahn, 2009, 35).
Surprisingly, while the government had formulated just a few policies to instigate the cessation processes for those whom were in need of them, their passiveness in the support and implementation of the policies was seen from the point total lack of concern of law enforcement mechanisms, and weak funding, perhaps a fact which could have been due to devastated and unstable economies.
As mentioned earlier above, the channel to the organizations dealing with health matters which showed that the governments were unready to finance cessation activities for the benefit of their country community. Normally, I thought that the directing of the programs through the sector of health and its closely related departments was merely an overt strategy for the authorities to evade incurring of additional expenses by incorporating new labor force to render such services to those whom were in demand of them (Bailey et al, 2003, 47).
In trying to circumvent the situation and achieve their cessation goals, they took the initiative of implementing the cessation oriented activities by using the healthcare providers, an act which has the effects of doubling their work by serving in two or more different types of jobs concurrently (Rehm, 2006, 34). The approach is of much a disadvantage to the nurses, physicians and other health care providers, in the sense that, it aims at doubling or tripling their work.
As a way of showing their dissatisfaction, they have always shown mild responses, mostly failing to offer the advisory cessation services to those in dire need of them, or reluctantly rendering the services superficially while on the other hand decreasing their efforts on offering quality health services. Based on such practices, it is obvious that the nations have been unable to realize the expected health improvements through this cessation process, as the overall approach is very poor affecting the delivery the right services and affecting other healthcare services geared towards treatment of tobacco-related malignancies (American Lung Association, 2006, 9).
Focusing on the side of creating smoke-free environment in the three countries, there is not much that had been done, and the approaches is more or less the same as to those of cessation procedures. However, numerous sources have shown that much effort is being put from the government side on this area as compared to effort dispensation on cessation services. On citing this, the governments’ improvement in the efforts of ensuring a smoke-free environment is also far much indirectly as it is seen in the Kenyan government, where several policies have been enacted and the government is funding many non-governmental programs established to help individuals to cease smoking habits within selected points/areas. This is a main duty for the body of municipal council (Anderson, 2004, 452).
As far as government engagement is involved in the policy formulation for establishing of smoke-free environment, unlike the Ugandan and Sudanese governments, the Kenyan government has enacted policies denying individuals the opportunity of smoking in public and social places, which to them is a better step towards the elimination of the bad habit of tobacco usage (Zwar, 2007, 126). In the actual sense, the government has not established the denial of public and social places smoking, but it has gone further in setting up special areas where addicts or smoke dependences can relieve their thirsty.
Even though according to them, this has been a major step toward the fulfillment of FCTC goals on smoke-free zone, a shrewd and thoughtful person would count this as a negative progression. For one, these are policies which a hundred percent encourage smoking, first by creating a special smoking zone, hence, discouraging the creation of smoke-free environment. Looking at the former policy on denial to public and social place smoking, the government fails to define clearly the meaning of the two terms of public and social places as they relate to the environment. As a result of the fault of defining the terms, this has led them to establish of the second flawed policy which allows partial denial in smoking in public and social places, as this applies in my view of considering public and social places as a place where two or more individuals gathers to accomplish a given task including leisure and rest.
While dwelling in the clouds of the two policies, it is of paramount importance to notice that these two policies do not in anyway assist to the establishing of smoke-free zone. The policies are rather linked to components aimed at establishing a better smoking environment for the addicts and tobacco dependants without caring of the effects of polluting the environments, or taking care of the lives of the neighborhoods (Anderson, 2004, 452).
At the South Africa FCTC meeting, where different speakers converged to discuss and find ways of advancing the war against the tobacco menace, it was not a rare case to hear many of the renowned guest speakers reiterating many of the FCTC components, which have been implemented by different states, particularly those coming from foreign continents including Europe and America.
This meeting seemed to have come to its culmination with the coming of the fifth speaker into arena, DR. Lambert, who not only emphasized on the FCTC elements for the African delegates, a continent where the above selected nations are found, but he who also gave vivid examples on the way developed countries in other continents excluding South Africa have been able to successfully implement the core FCTC components together with other elements, which were being considered by most of the African leaders as extremely trivial. Many of the successful FCTC component implementation in the foreign continents that DR. Lambert mentioned and that turned as a new dawn to the African leaders’ cohort included the advertising, labeling, selling habits, heavy tobacco taxation among others (Hawkes and Yach, 2007, 1).
Heavy taxation is a major way that has been employed in many parts of world to combat the habit of tobacco consumption. It is one of the core components of the FCTC that has played key role in the journey towards the achievement of tobacco-free environment globally. The idea of taxation is that, heavy taxation on tobacco products would lead to diversion industrial investment on the investors, due to effect of constraining of their profits.
Apart from this, it discourages some users on the consumption of tobacco products by making them become highly priced. On such basis, a number of consumers quit from being clients of tobacco firms, and once the consumers are sidetracked, the firms will likely operate at loss which subsequently would lead them to a closer. It may also imply that the clients are forced to consume other type of products that have more nutritional value than the devastating tobacco products. Moreover, through discouragement by taxation method, it possibly to drive investors to venture into the alternative available opportunities, thus terminating the advancement of the tobacco industries and their related activities (Mclean, 2002, 67).
The Indonesian government serves as a better example that has successfully employed taxation to derail tobacco activities within its territories. Though not belonging to the developed nations, the Indonesians have been able to implement this through the policies of taxation by establishing the right environment for policy and project implementation. Unlike Kenyan and Ugandan governments, the Indonesian government has set its territories to be corruption-free, as well as embraced democracy and peace.
Evidences show that, with such prevailing environment of peace, democracy and corruption-free zones, the nation decided to increase the price of tobacco products by 13 %, which result to 3 billion cartons deficient on consumption, about 3.5 million smokers quitting smoking, and increasing the government revenue by almost 17 million dollars. This was contrary to the result obtained in three African countries, in which Kenyans lead in corruption habits, while in Uganda and Sudan are wrecked by chaotic environments forcing the residences to consume the tobacco products despite of their high cost (CityMatCH, 2005, 5).
Finally, the fact that many of the poor and developing nations appear to be lagging behind the already developed nations in the implementation of FCTC components, there is great hope of them to set the right standard for the fight against tobacco products. The assurance to the attainment of these standards begins with a set of WHO control instruments, mainly the survey tool kits, which is put in place to monitor the usage of tobacco products at all levels of human demographics. The data collected using such key instruments or tools are of key importance for providing clear information that would not only help the leaders in the various states to understand the severity of the effects caused by tobacco products, but that will also provide the means to chart the best way of solving the problems identified.
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