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World No Tobacco Day

The Hon. Mark Scotland,JP.

Minister for Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture

The Hon. Mark Scotland

World No Tobacco Day Message

31 May 2010

Currently, women comprise only about 20 percent of the world's more than one billion smokers. Ironically however, this makes them especially vulnerable as the tobacco industry is constantly seeking new and under-utilised markets.

As such, the World Health Organisation has dedicated this year's World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing on women.

Although National Drug Council statistics confirm that women are still less likely to smoke than men, we cannot afford complacency and I therefore urge everyone to join the no smoking campaign. We must continue to support those who want to quit, but even more importantly, we have to actively discourage people, especially our teenagers, from even starting.

Whilst World No Tobacco Day 2010 will bring overdue recognition to the importance of controlling the epidemic of tobacco use among women, we must also be mindful that our boys and men still need protection from the tobacco companies' advertising tactics. Limiting everyone's exposure to second-hand smoke in the home, at the workplace or in public settings is clearly a good place to start.

And there is no place for procrastination for worldwide, approximately one in five young teens (aged 13 to 15) already smokes. Research shows that if you start smoking in this age group, you are more likely to continue doing so throughout your life.

But the bottom line is that smoking extracts a heavy toll on the heart and lungs and imposes huge long-term costs. With their devastating effect on health, smoking-related diseases kill one in ten adults, severely taxing governments, families and individuals. Yet in spite of these devastating impacts, people continue to smoke, putting their lives, and the health of those around them, at risk with each and every puff.

If we are to stop this destructive habit, we need to universally commit to the anti-smoking effort, - not just on national levels, but individually as well.

In Cayman, the enactment of our Tobacco Law has taken us a great step forward and I thank local businesses for adhering to it. I also commend other local efforts to reduce the smoking habit, such as the Cayman Islands Cancer Society's free Quit Smoking Programme.

Let's all use this World No Tobacco Day to support and enhance these efforts, making Cayman a healthier, smoke-free place.