Samoa welcomes report

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S.C.S EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Shelly Burich says there is room for improvement in Samoa when it comes to tobacco control measures.

S.C.S EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Shelly Burich says there is room for improvement in Samoa when it comes to tobacco control measures.

The Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S) has welcomed a new report which finds that tobacco control measures are highly cost-effective and boost national economies.

 “The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control” report is by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (N.C.I) and the World Health Organization (W.H.O). 

Tobacco use remains one of the world’s leading causes of preventable premature death. Smoking causes over 16 types of cancer and accounts for more than 20per cent of all cancer deaths worldwide.   

According to the 2013 Samoa S.T.E.PS survey, 25.6per cent of the surveyed population smoke tobacco, with 91.1per cent of the surveyed daily smokers, smoking manufactured cigarettes. 

An average of just over nine manufactured cigarettes per day (almost an entire pack of 10 that is currently being sold).

S.C.S patient referral data for the period June 2014-July 2015 shows three of the top six cancer types presented during that period, most likely were smoking related.  

Lung, pancreatic and rectal cancers are some of the 16 confirmed types of cancer that smoking causes.  

In its P.A.T.I.S report for period 2007-2011, the Samoa Ministry of Health listed lung and cervical cancers as two of the seven leading cancers (cervical cancer being classed as a smoking related cancer).  

This includes environmental tobacco smoke (also known as second hand smoke).

While progress is being made to control the global tobacco epidemic, existing measures have not yet been used to their full potential. 

These include significant tobacco tax and price increases, comprehensive bans on tobacco industry marketing activities, prominent pictorial health warning labels, smoke-free policies, and population-wide tobacco cessation programs.

Applying these most effective and cost-effective interventions would reduce demand for tobacco products and significantly reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and the resulting deaths, diseases, and economic costs.  

Samoa has achieved a great deal in this area, by lifting the price of tobacco through sales and excise taxes to 55.36% (source: WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2015, Western Pacific), with further increases being considered to lessen the burden of smoking related cancers for the country. 

 “The global scale of suffering, death, and disease from tobacco use is staggering. Millions of early deaths can be prevented if nations adopt evidence-based tobacco control policies,” said Robert Croyle, Ph.D., Director of the National Cancer Institute’s (N.C.I) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.

The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control provides the first comprehensive review of the economics of global tobacco control efforts since the 2005 entry into force of the W.H.O Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (F.C.T.C). 

The monograph discusses the current evidence on the economics of tobacco use; tobacco growing, manufacturing, and trade; tobacco product taxes and prices; and tobacco control policies and other interventions to reduce tobacco use and its consequences.

The monograph’s comprehensive summary of the existing scientific research emphasizes evidence from low- and middle-income countries.

In Samoa, tobacco tax policies have been strengthened to reduce tobacco consumption and raise government revenue, however, cigarette prices can still be considered low enough to be ‘affordable’, particularly with the 10 pack at $6 retail where people unable to afford the larger packet are targeted.  

S.C.S congratulates the N.C.I and W.H.O on this important and practical resource to guide policy makers throughout the world. 

S.C.S also congratulates the government of Samoa for its’ unwavering support for Tobacco Control and progress it has made so far. 

“While Samoa is on the right track, we still have significant room for improvement to strengthen our tobacco control measures, particularly in the area of prevention, monitoring and enforcement,” said Shelley Burich, S.C.S’s Executive Officer.

“It is also timely that the current Legislation be reviewed based on current experiences and progress made locally and internationally.”

Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead scientific editor for the monograph concludes, “…the evidence is clear - effective tobacco control interventions make sense from an economic as well as a public health standpoint.”

This is the 21st volume in the series of monographs on tobacco control produced by the N.C.I. This current effort included contributions from more than 60 leaders in the field and was peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts. All NCI Tobacco Control Monographs are available at: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/monographs.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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