Home

ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0304-IMPACT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY ON POLICY AND BEHAVIOR RELATED TO CIGARETTE SMOKING

Abstract written for Second International Social Sciences Conference on ‘The Role of Social and Health Sciences in the Development of Society’ at Kuwait University College of Social Sciences 6-8 April 2003 by Prof Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard), Deputy Dean, Kulliyah of Medicine, International University, PO Box 141 Kuantan, 25710 MALAYSIA. EM: omarkasule@yahoo.com. Fax 00 609 513 3615. Telephone 00 609 513 2797.

ABSTRACT

This paper will present data showing the impact of epidemiological knowledge on social policy and social behavior related to smoking. Epidemiological studies over the past half century have explored the role of tobacco in disease causation. Tobacco is incriminated in the following diseases: coronary heart disease/ischemic heart disease cancer of the lung, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the oral cavity, cancer of the bladder, chronic obstructive lung disease, unintentional injury by fire, and poor pregnancy outcome (low birth weight, premature rupture of membranes, abruptio placenta). The proportion of all deaths attributed to smoking was computed by the US Office of Health and Smoking as: all cancers 30%, lung cancer 85%, CHD 30%, and COPD 85%. The results of these studies have prompted smoking control programs at international and national levels. Cigarette availability has been controlled by social policies limiting access to cigarettes (prohibiting sale of cigarettes to minors, heavy taxation to increase the price, and limitations of cigarette sale outlets), control of advertisement (outright prohibition or allowing only indirect advertisement), limiting exposure to cigarette smoke (legislation in smoke-free areas in public buildings, restaurants and transportation), and control the tar content of cigarettes. These legislative measures have been reinforced by successful suits against cigarette manufacturers. Smoking behavior has been modified by knowledge of the health risks, change of attitude to attitude to smoking, constraints on cigarette advertising, increasing the cost of cigarettes, and legislation. The anti-smoking intervention has produced discernible behavioral change at individual level in many communities world-wide.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule April 2003