In a meeting in the holy city of Mashhad on Jan 16, 2020, Secretary-General of IATA said that this NGO is establishing a representative office in the city of Mashhad, for the implementation of “tobacco-free city” and other programs to fight against tobacco consumption.
Dr. Masjedi said that the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean in his recent visit to Iran suggested that like Saudi Arabia who introduced two cities of Mecca and Medina as tobacco-free holy cities, we should implement this plan in two holy cities of Mashhad and Qom.
He said “fighting against tobacco is taken seriously worldwide. The first formal confrontation was started in 1968 in the USA and in that time, 55% of men and 20% of women were smoking; since then, the rate of smoking declined in American men to 22% and in American women to 18%.”
Dr. Masjedi explained that tobacco consumption in developing countries has been increased because the supervision system in these countries is not taking seriously. He emphasized that “exploitation and infiltration of international tobacco companies is a serious issue. The main strategy of tobacco companies is the extreme exploitation of developing countries.”
The Secretary-General of IATA stated “in the past 7 years, more than 50% of domestic industries were bankrupted or closed, and the rest mostly work in one-third of their capacity, while the number of cigarette production companies in this period increased from 7 to 28 and the consumption of hookah tobacco increased from 2000 to 10000 tons. Indeed the issue of tobacco in our country is a political one. Also, in the first 7 months of this year, 617 million USD foreign investment has been made in Iran and the government is happy that has bypassed the sanctions, but 318 million USD was invested in two cigarette production companies.
He continued that president Trump who put everything into sanctions for Iranians prefers that Iranian smoke good cigarettes. He believes that it is only possible to fight with Iranians through poverty, diseases, and addiction, not war and sanction. Also, the Japan prime minister who recently visited Iran, founded two new JTI cigarette production companies; 51% of cigarettes produced in Iran are belong to this brand.
Secretary-General of IATA said “the government has done poorly in countering with cigarette produced by foreign companies. In such circumstances, NGOs, clergies, and Friday imams play an important role in informing people.”
He mentioned that Iranians spend more than 300,000 billion IRR (7.13 billion USD) per year, and the government spends twice this amount for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases. Hookah is more harmful and more expensive than a cigarette.
Vice president of the board of trustees, president and members of the board of directors, Secretary-General, executive manager and staff of IATA, managers of the co-ordination council for the counter-narcotics center of Mashhad, and other authorities and NGO representatives of Khorasan-e Razavi Province, were among the attendees at this meeting.