World No Tobacco Day

Today is the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day

WHO World No Tobacco Day

I’m not entirely comfortable with the WHO’s approach, though I agree with the goal.  Another poster asks, “Are you being manipulated?” which could suggest tobacco users are gullible, weak-willed followers.  It’s standard to refer to tobacco use as an epidemic and that has been the case for decades, but I struggle with drawing a line between what is and what is not an epidemic.  And, I’m skeptical about the lure to imitate movie smokers nowadays, but that could be an ethnocentric view: I grew up in a culture where the damage caused by smoking was well-known and taught to us at an early age — making movie smoking nothing more than character development — and at a time when TV and radio ads were banned.  It was a long way from 1950:

1950-cigarettes-that-soothe-your-throat

On a related note, this seems like the perfect opportunity to link to Quit Tobacco International, a project focused on tobacco use in India and Indonesia and founded by, among others, anthropologists Mark and Mimi Nichter.  From the site:

Over the next two decades, deaths due to tobacco will soar to 4.2 million annually in Asian countries, nearly twice that of more developed regions. The wealth of research knowledge and lessons learned about tobacco cessation from high income countries cannot be simply transferred into low and middle income countries (LMICs) given the vast differences in cultural norms, tobacco products and use patterns and health care and public health systems.

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Quitting tobacco

From Micah in March:

Next week we’re reading (again) from my friend and mentor Mark Nichter.  He and his wife (Mimi Nichter, also an amazing medical anthropologist) have been working for decades on the problem of tobacco use- which is arguably the largest cause of easily preventable death and disease ever.  Smoking will be the cause of 1/3 of all deaths in the next 20 years, and those dying from tobacco use are increasingly Indians, Chinese and Indonesians.

For more information, check out the brand new Quit Tobacco International website at:  http://quittobaccointernational.org/home.html