Grenadians are being encouraged to join the millions of people worldwide calling for a ban on tobacco products and for an end to the “intimidation tactics” by the tobacco industry.
This special appeal was made on Thursday by Health Minister, Sen. Ann Peters and acting Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. George Mitchell, as Grenada observes “World No Tobacco Day – 2012” under the theme “Tobacco Industry Interference”.
While the Ministry and the local steering committee will continue their activities and campaigns to highlight the negative effects of tobacco on humans, the Health Minster said Grenadians must understand that tobacco poses a serious danger to public health.
She said tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death and the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people yearly, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke.
“We have noticed that in modern Grenada some young people have resorted to adopting this negative and dangerous habit of smoking and that’s a major concern to us. Additionally, many of us do feel uncomfortable when people smoke around us and we know for a fact that second-hand smoke is as dangerous as smoking itself” Peters said.
“So unless we act swiftly to put an end to tobacco smoking especially in public places we will be doing ourselves an injustice,” the Health Minister declared on Friday.
“Global statistics indicate that tobacco use will kill up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80% will live in low and middle-income countries like Grenada,” Peters said.
Meanwhile Dr. Mitchell who heads the local steering committee says Grenada like other countries is concerned about the industry’s attempts to undermine the Treaty’s ongoing efforts, particularly with regard to countries’ attempts to ban smoking in enclosed public places and to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
He said observing World No Tobacco Day 2012 is another way to educate policy-makers and the public about the tobacco industry’s nefarious and harmful tactics, which ultimately can affect their health and well-being given the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke.
According to Mitchell, in 2011 the Ministry of Health embarked on a project that involved erecting signs in government buildings to create awareness on the dangers of smoking and its lethal effects on humans.
“And so this we want to congratulate all private entrepreneurs who have erected “No Smoking Signs” within/on their business premises and at the same time encourage others who have not yet done so to do likewise”, said Dr. Mitchell.
Grenada became a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on June 29, 2004. It ratified its position according to the protocol on August 14, 2007.
The guidelines of the FCTC of the World Health Organization (WHO) provide the foundation for countries to start and manage tobacco control.©