Acting health minister Colin McIntyre is alarmed over the increased use of tobacco among the youth in Dominica and is calling on all citizens to get involved in putting an end to smoking.
“I therefore call for a collaborative action and urge all citizens of Dominica to protect and preserve our future. Get involved in the call to reduce the harmful use and effects of tobacco smoke,” he said in a speech to mark World No Tobacco Day.
According to Mc Intyre one in ten adults smoke cigarettes in Dominica but a 2009 Global Youth Tobacco Survey showed that there is an increase in the use in smokeless tobacco among young people.
Furthermore he said the a large chunk of the youth population is exposed to second hand smoke from tobacco. “60 percent of secondary school students are exposed to second hand smoke and are putting them at increased risk for early development of chronic non communicable diseases,” he said.
McIntyre said the ultimate goal of No Tobacco Day is “to protect present and future generations not only from the devastating health consequences of this drug but also against the social, environmental and economic effects of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.”
“World No Tobacco Day also raises the awareness of all persons on the deadly nature of tobacco and its products,” he stated. “Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills when used as intended by the manufacturer. Every year more than 6 million people die because they use tobacco. Another 600,000 non smoker’s die from breathing in second hand smoke this makes smoking tobacco one of the leading preventable factors for preventable death of non communicable diseases.”
He pointed out that the government has put in place a number of initiatives to combat the use of tobacco on the island.
“Initiatives taken by the government of Dominica include signing on to the framework convention for tobacco control in 2004 and ratification in 2006 and increased taxation on tobacco products to 75 percent in 2012,” he pointed out.
World No Tobacco Day was observed last Friday under the theme ‘Band tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship’.