Health minister promises action to cut smoking


30-May-2009

Minister Lloyd

And the government is to step up measures to control tobacco use, for the benefit of the country’s health.
These are among the points stressed by Health and Social Development Minister Marie-Pierre Lloyd in her message to mark World No Tobacco Day, which falls tomorrow.

The full text of her message reads:
“This year’s theme for World No Tobacco Day is Tobacco Health Warnings. These warnings can appear on packs of cigarettes, which is an important way to provide valid information to smokers. Warnings that aim not only to help smokers quit but also to reduce the overall appeal of cigarettes are even more powerful when they contain both pictures and words.

“Many countries around the world require that health warnings appear on tobacco packages. This measure is also a central obligation of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. “Seychelles was the first country in the African region to ratify this convention, which now has the support of more than 140 countries.

“Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death. More than five million people die from the effects of tobacco every year – more than from HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. It is the only legally consumed product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends. Up to half of all smokers will die from a tobacco-related disease. Secondhand smoke harms everyone who is exposed to it.

“Seychelles has taken several important steps to reduce tobacco use over the past years. This includes education programmes in schools or in the media, a ban on smoking on public transport and a ban on tobacco advertising sponsorship. 

“Smoking has decreased in Seychelles as a result of these active measures to control tobacco use over the past decade.

“However, we must not rest on our successes. There are still several matters of concern. In particular, smoking remains a leading cause of death in the country as several smoking-related diseases are still frequent, particularly lung cancer, cancer of the throat and cardiovascular diseases.

“Furthermore, recent studies in Seychelles show that smoking is frequent among young people.
As many as a quarter of all students in late secondary school years are smoking regularly. Although more than two-thirds of adolescent smokers said they wish to stop, few of them, unfortunately, will actually stop because smoking is strongly addictive.

“Very soon a new Tobacco Bill will add a series of measures to better control tobacco use and further protect the health of the population. In particular, smoking will no longer be permitted in enclosed public places and workplaces, so as to protect the health of workers and patrons. The display of health warnings on tobacco packets sold in the country will become compulsory.

“The Ministry of Health and Social Development and the government at large are very concerned by the health-related hazards attributable to smoking. I, therefore, call on all Seychellois to give all their support to these new measures so as to reduce the detrimental effects of smoking.

“Let us all join together in our fight against smoking and for better health for all.”

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