Minister’s message for World No Tobacco Day

| 31/05/2016
CNS Local Life

Alden McLaughlin

Premier and Minister for Health Alden McLaughlin: I am pleased that the Cayman Islands is once again marking World No Tobacco Day, along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners around the globe. Smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable illness and premature death and impoverishment worldwide, and the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats that the world has ever faced, killing six million people a year.

More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

In recent years, the Cayman Islands has taken significant steps towards combatting the effects of tobacco by enacting legislation to reduce its consumption.

Our Tobacco Law 2008 and Tobacco Regulations 2010 include measures prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors, banning smoking in public places, and regulating the advertising and promotion of tobacco products. This legislation has helped greatly to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and also the inherent risk of inhaling second-hand smoke. As a result, our restaurants, bars and public spaces/places have also become much healthier to visit.

This year, World No Tobacco Day highlights another important step towards helping people to kick the habit. This is a call for the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products. Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours and brand images. These measures also restrict the promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style.

While I am pleased with the strides that we have already made in the Cayman Islands towards limiting the use of tobacco products, I am still concerned by the number of people who smoke. To this end, I encourage all who smoke and wish to stop, to join the tobacco cessation programme “I Can Quit” developed by the Public Health Department. In its second year running, the results yielded are very encouraging with as high as a 90 per cent success rate.

Tobacco-related illnesses contribute to the strain on our public and private health services. Smoking can have horrific effects, including heart disease, lung disease and a variety of other debilitating conditions, which all too often lead to premature death.

We must all take responsibility for our own health, so please take this occasion to consider the consequences of using tobacco. Help save your own life or the life of a loved one. Quit today.

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Category: Medical and Health

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