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It is urgent to reverse smoking

OPINION: In our country, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
31/05/2017
09:23
Mexico City
Newspaper leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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The good health of the population must be one of the main objectives of any State. In Mexico the challenge is magnified because of the presence of diseases that deteriorate the well-being of millions of people, such as diabetes and hypertension; In addition to conditions that influence the quality of life such as obesity and smoking.

The latter is one of the most important issues for the country, as the consumption age continues to go down. More than 80 thousand children - including fifth and sixth graders - have started smoking, according to the National Addiction Survey.

Although Mexico has followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization, raising the price of the product through higher taxes and forcing to include graphic and textual warnings in the packs about the damage caused by smoking, these measures have failed to reduce consumption among the youngest. The reason is simple: the sale of loose cigarettes facilitates the access of the product to the little ones.

In the streets of the country, it is possible to buy a cigarette with a cost of 4 and 6 pesos, in candy stands! without the merchant making any distinction between minors and adults when it comes to selling the product. Since street vendors are not regulated, it is difficult to enforce the prohibition of selling to minors. Although access to tobacco is almost unrestricted even in small commercial establishments.

It is true that sanitary authorities are responsible for monitoring and applying sanctions to those who fail to restrict the sale, but it is a monumental task to be present in each of the establishments. Citizen denunciation becomes an option.

Around 25 diseases are directly associated with smoking, from cardiovascular and respiratory problems to cancers such as lung and buccopharyngeal; In the country, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Containing from now on the growth of this type of addiction will avoid that millionaire resources are destined in the future to the attention of ailments that could be avoided.

In the fight against smoking, there are still some measures that have not materialized. Civil organizations say that pictures occupy 30% of the pack, despite the commitment was that it was 50%. The law to ban smoking in all enclosed premises remains frozen in Congress. If we really want to reverse this increasing problem, there are many involved parties that must act as soon as possible.

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