Campaign intensifies to reduce tobacco smoking

no smokingThe Health Promotion Unit of the Ministry of Health has stepped up its public awareness drive to reduce the number of tobacco smokers on Dominica.

The Unit is collaborating with the National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit in this effort and has begun an intense community outreach program, to sensitize members of the public on the dangers of smoking tobacco.

Anthelia James- Coordinator at the Health Promotion Unit said on Thursday that this outreach comes on the heels of “World No Tobacco Day” which was observed on May 31st, this year under the theme: “Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship”.

“We are actually focusing on raising awareness of the general population on the dangers of tobacco smoke. This year, we are taking a specific slant in the sense that apart from doing some media awareness, we are also looking to go out into the communities to talk to people one on one, so that they can get the information on the dangers of tobacco, to allow them to make informed decisions about the use of tobacco products,” she explained.

James says the harmful effects of Tobacco products on the human body is one of the major messages which the unit is hoping to get across to the population through this awareness campaign.

“The message is that the use of tobacco products is dangerous to your health, it gets us sick, it doesn’t only get the people who uses it sick, but also those who do not use it,” she noted.

Local statistics on tobacco smoking in Dominica suggests that 10 out of every 100 persons use tobacco products. The Health Promotion Unit is alarmed by these statistics, citing that its very high compared to countries with greater populations.

“When we think of the number of persons in our population (70, 000) who consume tobacco products this figure is high. When we compare our usage of tobacco to a country like Australia for example, which has millions of people, which has a consumption of 16%, the situation in Dominica is of great concern to us,” the health official lamented.

Dominica has signed on to international law which is the World Health Organizations’ Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, (WHO FTTC) which commits the country to enact laws and policies to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

So far, the Government of Dominica has put in place a policy to raise taxes on tobacco products to 75 percent.

The Ministry of Health is now in the process of looking at fine tuning recommendations for legislation dealing with the protection of persons from second hand smoke.

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11 Comments

  1. WISDOM
    June 8, 2013

    Thank God! Some people are now making sense. Put laws in place to prevent smoking in public places. Too often I run from secondary smoke in restaurants, clubs, shops, stores etc.

  2. anonymous2
    June 7, 2013

    A worse problem concerning air pollution than tobacco smoking is the way so many people go around starting fires, especially on holidays. This is a very bad practice and pollutes the air that everyone has to breathe resulting in coughing and asthma attacks.

  3. Nathaniel Peltier
    June 7, 2013

    Ignorance will kiss us:

  4. Anon
    June 7, 2013

    I agree with Muslim. Shut down that tobacco cigarette making factory in the middle of Roseau. When this factory is processing the tobacco, the whole town smells of tobacco and everyone including babies becomes high. This is the prime example of second hand smoke. And we wonder why the percentage of smokers is so high in Dominica? It’s because it is in our bloodstream (unknowing to us). Come on Government. Do something to clean up the environment and save some lives.

  5. Anonymous
    June 7, 2013

    enact laws and policies to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke in the MIDDLE OF THE CAPITAL CITY. How can we accept that a company that produces a poisonous and killer substance is allowed to operate in the middle of the capital city!!!If we serious about the World Health Organizations’ Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, then this would be of top priority.

  6. Ben Haynes PsyD
    June 7, 2013

    Wow, these stats are baffling, and we all should be concerned about the future of the health of our small population, and the cost to the economy. However, it is not too late for action, and we should thank our government despite the fact that such an addiction is already reaching to epidemic status. The stats shows it is on the rise. It is not a secret that tobacco smoking is a (killer), a threat not only to smokers but non-smokers as well so we should let it be known that no one should have to die because of an ignorant few. lf unchecked, we will notice an increase in asthma, lung cancer, COPD to name a few. So we must encourage the authorities to put pressure, aggressive enforcement to protect the non-smoking public. l am sure you will have great support.

  7. Muslim_Always
    June 7, 2013

    If this government is serious then kindly shut down the tobacco factory in the heart of town. Make it illegal to import them in the first place. Draft a piece of legislation, let the national debate begin on the issue, this is raising the awareness. Destroy these dangerous drugs once and for all.

    • Yaya
      June 7, 2013

      Agreed! Shut it down. The owners have enough idle land in Hillsborough away from people to build their factory. Time to clean up this mess.

  8. mac
    June 7, 2013

    Stop making cigarettes then people wont have to buy them,if there is nothing to buy then they wont smoke, the problem don’t lie with the people it lies with governments, if they stop making cigarettes the whole problem solve. But they make too much money to stop making cigarettes the taxes and duty on cigarettes big money for governments

  9. Anonymous
    June 7, 2013

    Focus on improving that death trap called Princess Margaret Hospital!

    • Malgraysa
      June 7, 2013

      What is there to stop us from doing both?

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