Iranians collectively puff 65 billion cigarettes, 65,000 people die annually due to smoking and $3 billion are wasted on buying cigarettes every year.
Hookahs (water pipes) have also become the norm with no lack of users across the country, said Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari.
The Health Ministry has made a pledge to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to reduce smokers in the country by 30%, he said, reports IRNA.
At an upcoming meeting with Iran Police, agreements are to be signed to jointly undertake measures to promote national health. “Restraining measures taken by the disciplinary forces have a great impact on promoting health.”
Nearly 30% of cigarettes are illegally imported into the local market. The joint measures aim to redress social vulnerabilities such as drug addiction, homelessness and people with HIV who contract the infection through drug injection. HIV prevalence among homeless children is 40% higher than the general population. Moreover, the increasing rate of divorce and illicit relations are other social issues that will be tackled through joint efforts.
Supervision of 1.2 million centers that supply food and essential items for the underprivileged are also on the agenda.
Further, road mishaps and early deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) will be addressed. “Nearly 25% of fatalities among people aged 30-70 years will be brought down over the next decade through proper measures.”
Sayyari also pointed to the need for effective action on the NCD plan by addressing risk factors such as smoking, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, and alcohol consumption, which is 420 million liters each year. All this will be in the context of cooperation between the two sides.
Outbreak of communicable disease transmitted from animals to humans including rabies, cholera, leishmaniasis, bird flu and other diseases caused by illegal slaughter of livestock, will be monitored and contained.
Sayyari called for the formation of a committee to review areas of cooperation, explore every avenue and sign necessary agreements to kick-start the cooperation as soon as possible.