Thursday is World No-Tobacco Day, and the theme this year is 'tobacco industry interference'. The World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to use this day, and continue throughout the next year, to educate policymakers and the general public about the tobacco industry's nefarious and harmful tactics.
According to the WHO, the tobacco industry has had 'brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC] because of the serious danger they pose to public health'.
For example, in an attempt to halt the adoption of pictorial health warnings on packages of tobacco, the industry recently adopted the novel tactic of suing countries under bilateral investment treaties, claiming that the warnings impinge the companies' attempts to use their legally registered brands.
As more and more countries move to fully meet their obligations under the WHO FCTC, the tobacco industry's efforts to undermine the treaty are said to be becoming more and more energetic.
Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. It kills nearly six million people globally each year, more than 600,000 of whom are those exposed to second-hand smoke.
Unless action is taken, it will kill up to eight million people by 2030, more than 80 per cent of whom will live in less developed countries.
Don't be a statistic; act now to kick the habit.
Find out your nicotine dependence using the following questionnaire developed by Dr Karl Fagerstrom, an international expert in the fields of behavioural medicine, tobacco and nicotine.
Write your score, a number ranging from 0 to 3, after each question. Add up your total score; it will be on a scale of 10. A low dependence means you'll benefit from professional counselling, though pharmacotherapy is not needed. But if you have a medium to high dependence, professional counselling is advised, as well as pharmacotherapy.
1. How soon after you wake up do you smoke your first cigarette?
0. After 60 minutes
1. 31-60 minutes
2. 6-30 minutes
3. Within 5 minutes
2. Do you find it hard not to smoke in places where smoking is prohibited?
3. Of the cigarettes you smoke daily, which will be the hardest to give up?
0. Any, other than the first cigarette in the morning
1. The first cigarette of the day
4. How many cigarettes do you smoke a day?
0. 1 to 10
1. 11 to 20
2. 21 to 30
3. 31 or more
5. Do you smoke more in the first hours after you wake up than during the rest of the day?
6. Do you smoke even if sickness keeps you in bed most of the day?
Tobacco dependence: 0-3 points = low; 4-6 points = medium; 7-10 points = high