The Ministry of Health (MOH) is expressing concerns over the exposure of non-smokers to the dangers of tobacco smoke.
That information was revealed by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Helen Royer on the Observance of World No Tobacco Day 2015, observed every year on May 31.
According to her, a 2009 survey shows that six of every 10 non smoking students and one of every five adults are exposed to tobacco smoke in public spaces in Dominica.
The survey also shows that one in every 10 adults smoke and that smoking among students 13 to 15 years stands at one in four.
“The Ministry of Health is concerned about the high rate of exposure of non smokers to the dangers of tobacco smoke,” she said.
Royer stated that clearly the youths of Dominica are at risk to diseases both caused by their own actions and from the actions of others.
“Conscious of the need to protect the health of the island’s population, government has acceded to the request of the Ministry of Health and Environment to increase the tax on tobacco products,” she said. “And from 2012 there was an increase from 45 percent to 75 percent on these products. This is consistent with the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control.”
She stated further that the Ministry of Health and Environment acknowledges that it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to protect the health of both smokers and non-smokers from the poisons in tobacco smoke.
“The Ministry of Health and Environment is also in the process of making recommendations to the government to create policies which will contribute to the improvement of the health of the nation,” Royer stated.
She noted that the Minister of Health and Environment, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, urges the public to take all the necessary preventive measures to reduce their risks associated with tobacco use.
The Ministry will be observing a month of activities to combat the use of tobacco which will include public education, media discussion, town hall meetings and a poetry competition.
The public is encouraged to participate in the activities.
According to the World Health Organization nearly 80% of the more than one billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. Tobacco users who die prematurely deprive their families of income, raise the cost of health care and hinder economic development.
The tobacco epidemic is fueled by false advertising from the Tobacco Industry targeting mainly the youths and females, lack of tight enough fiscal policies and most recently by an upsurge in illicit trade of tobacco products.
Some conditions which are the results of either direct or indirect tobacco smoke include; Cancer of the lungs, mouth and throat , Chronic bronchitis and emphysema, Heart Disease, Miscarriages, infertility and sexual dysfunction in males and more.
Every year, on the 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
For World No Tobacco Day 2015, as party to the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, Dominica joins the global community in highlighting the public health consequences of tobacco consumption. Dominica will focus on the theme” “The Harmful Effects of Tobacco : Beware”