World No Tobacco Day-Minister stresses importance of smoke-free environment


31-May-2013

Minister LarueHealth minister Mitcy Larue made the statement in her message on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day being celebrated today under the theme ‘Ban Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship’.
The full text of Minister Larue’s message reads:

“World No Tobacco Day, which is celebrated on May 31, provides an opportunity to assess progress we have been made so far to protect the health of our people against the tobacco epidemic.
“Seychelles has had a strong policy against tobacco since several decades. Seychelles was the first country in Africa to ratify the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003 – a treaty that has now been ratified by 176 countries.

“In line with this treaty and good practice with regard to tobacco control, Seychelles has been implementing a Tobacco Control Act since 2009, which provides several important measures to reduce tobacco use in the country.

“In line with a provision of the Tobacco Control Act, smoking is no longer allowed in enclosed premises of public places and workplaces and is also not allowed on all public transport. Therefore, restaurants, cafes, bars, discotheques, casinos, airports are smoke-free areas. In addition, the outside premises of all health care centres, all educational facilities and all sport stadiums are also submitted to a no-smoking ban. This measure has received broad support from the public and we are glad to say that these measures are generally well implemented.

“A smoke-free environment in all work places and public places is a very important and effective measure to protect the health of both the smokers and the non-smokers who might be otherwise involuntarily exposed to second-hand smoke.

“World No Tobacco Day precisely focuses, this year, on the need to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. We are glad to say that Seychelles has already taken the step to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This measure is very important as promotion of smoking by ways of advertisement, sponsorships and other promotional manoeuvers are very powerful means to encourage people to smoke, particularly the youth. And we know that when a youth starts smoking, it will be very difficult for him/her to quit because of the strong addictive properties of nicotine. Hence, all efforts to discourage smoking initiation are very important. Evidence shows that comprehensive advertising bans lead to reductions in the numbers of people starting and continuing smoking.

“While we have implemented several critical public health measures to reduce tobacco use in Seychelles over the past years, and we have seen the use of tobacco products reduced over time, we must not sit back and relax. We must implement the other important provisions of our Tobacco Control Act, in particular the obligation that all cigarette packets bear a large health warning aimed at better informing smokers about health hazards. The legislation stresses that this message should cover at least 50% of the two main sides.

“I am glad to say that we have moved forward with the implementation of this mandatory display of the health warnings on all cigarette packets. As of November this year it will be mandatory that all cigarette packets sold in Seychelles bear a pictorial health warning as prescribed by the Tobacco Control Act.

“I therefore call upon all partners involved in producing, importing, and selling tobacco products in the country to ensure that health warnings are displayed on all cigarette packets as from November in compliance with the Tobacco Control Act.

“I take this opportunity to thank all those who have been working and fighting for tobacco control in Seychelles.
“As we continue the fight against smoking and its related diseases, we reiterate our call to all smokers to take steps toward smoking cessation. The World No Tobacco Day is an ideal time for such major life-changing decision. You will live to thank yourself for your brave decision if you make that choice now NOW!!!”

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