59% of deaths in Myanmar related to smoking, tobacco consumption

Writer: 
Nay Yaing and Zeyar Tun
The ceremony to launch public campaigns through media to control betel quid and tobacco product control in progress

In Myanmar 59 percent of people who die results from diseases related to smoking and consumption of tobacco products, said Union Minister for Health and Sports Dr Myint Htwe.

The minister made the remark during a ceremony to launch public campaigns through media to control betel quid and tobacco product control held in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.

"Among Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar represents the largest percentage in eating betel quid with tobacco products as ingredients. Due to smoking and tobacco product consumption, 59 percent of all deaths in our country have come from consequential diseases," said the minister.

He stressed the need for parents and school teachers to educate their children to stay away from smoking and tobacco consumption since at a young age.

"Smoking and tobacco consumption are very important in our efforts for national interest and national development. If we eat betel quid, it carries a lot of tobacco-related products. Unless we can handle this, our economy will not develop whatever efforts we make. Economic growth is not possible if people die at the age 45, 50 or 60," said Dr Myint Htwe.

The minister called for cooperation with relevant organizations to launch public educational campaigns especially for the youths to reduce smoking and tobacco consumption.

He pointed out non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension, heart attack and diabetes pose challenges to the world. Such diseases were mainly related to smoking and tobacco consumption, he added.