The Ministry of Health and the United Nations in Jordan call upon everyone to unite to end tobacco use

Amman, 31 May 2018, This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on “Tobacco and Heart Disease”. On this important occasion, the Ministry of Health jointly with the United Nations in Jordan calls upon everyone – government, UN agencies, academics, media, private sector, and civil society groups – to unite to end tobacco use and its devastating consequences.

Tobacco use in Jordan is a public health emergency. It is a major driver of poor health and premature mortality. Tobacco use is a considerable threat to the economic and sustainable development of Jordan. One in two adult men smokes cigarettes.  One in two adults and youth is exposed to second hand smoke. One in eight deaths is attributable to tobacco use, much worse than the global statistic of one in ten deaths. The latest evidence shows that tobacco is responsible for 12% of all deaths among people over 30 years of age in Jordan. Within this group, tobacco imposes the largest death burden on respiratory diseases (34% of all deaths), cancers (18%), and cardiovascular diseases (13%). These numbers are on the rise since tobacco is a key risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

All forms of tobacco use are harmful, including cigarettes, argileh (shisha), and new electronic tobacco products such as heated tobacco products (heat-not-burn), e-cigarettes or vapes. Tobacco is inherently toxic and contains carcinogens even in its natural form, regardless whether it is heated, burned or consumed in any other form. In recent years, the consumption of argileh has increased at an alarming rate among youth and women. Sadly, these electronic tobacco products are becoming the new trend. Because these products contain nicotine and their use is initiated during adolescence (24% of youth use tobacco products), actions to prevent Jordan’s youth from a potential lifetime of nicotine addiction are critical. However, large sections of the public have misconceptions about tobacco products and do not realize that, for instance, one hour of argileh consumption equals smoking 100 cigarettes and that these emerging electronic products (e.g. heat-not-burn, e-cigarettes or vapes) are harmful and addictive as well. In 2004 Jordan became one of the first countries in the world to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), a legally binding international treaty. Following this ratification, Jordan made a great achievement in developing its Tobacco Control Law as part of Public Health Law #47 in 2008 with further amendments in 2017. In 2016, the Prime Minister endorsed the National Tobacco Control Strategy followed by the implementation of its roadmap.

The political commitment demonstrated should be sustained by taking all possible actions and making every effort to control tobacco use and raising public awareness of the harm of its use in all forms. To help reduce tobacco-use and consequently make significant progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it is recommended that: 1) All public places (including private businesses) should be 100% smoke-free environments, without exceptions ;2) advertising, promotion, sponsorship and corporate social responsibility activities by the tobacco industry and its front groups should be banned; 3) Tobacco warnings should, at the minimum, meet the WHO FCTC requirements; and  4) WHO FCTC Protocol on Illicit Trade of tobacco products should be ratified.

On this World No Tobacco Day, the Government of Jordan - together with the United Nations in Jordan – has the responsibility to help overcome the alarming tobacco epidemic that threatens economic growth, sustainable development, and the lives of millions of men, women and children in Jordan.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Nora Isayan, Communication Analyst, Office of the UN Resident & umHuhhHumanitarian Coordinator – Jordan

Tel: +962 6 510 0420 Ext. 259         Mobile: +962  79 855 7128     e-mail: nora.isayan@one.un.org

Banan Kharabsheh, Media and Communications, WHO Country Office- Jordan

Tel: +962 6 5684651 Ext. 64053      Mobile: +962  79 9324142      e-mail: kharabshehb@who.int  

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