It was great day when the European Parliament approved the new Tobacco Directive, which was set to tighten the rules against tobacco use. Tobacco smoking causes a number of health problems such as cancer, increased atherosclerosis, increased number of strokes, heart diseases, lung diseases, breating difficulties.
The problem is that not only tobacco use is hazadous but also secondhand smoke from other smokers may cause some of this damage in non-smoking people. It may even provoke asthma in some people.
Malta needs these facts about smoking. It was estimated that in the country the proportion of males to females with lung cancer is 6 to 1. In other words, men develop lung cancer six times more than women. The figures show that many more men than women smoke cigarettes and more men are exposed to different carcinogens on the workplace than women. Women smoking during their pregnancy do pass negative effects of tobacco to their kids.
Many people do not take effects of smoking seriously because these days smoking is normally accepted by the society. Low-income people frequently are more sceptical about quitting smoking and find it more difficult to understand the implications of their actions in choosing to smoke, because of lack of education. Thus quit smoking messages most be more aggressive.
It is good that the European Parliament and the European Commission managed to implement this anti-smoking initiative in Europe. Slowly the whole European society would change its attitude towards using tobacco and when someone would light up, it will be easier to take a look at the graphic and text anti-smoking warnings soon to be printed more prominently on cigarette packs in all EU countries.
However, in order to reduce smoking rates much still needs be done – in both Malta and in the EU. Here the complex approach is needed.
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