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World No Tobacco Day Message

Hon. Mark Scotland, JP

Let us all take a moment to reflect on the fact that every year more than five million people die from tobacco.

—Hon. Mark Scotland, JP

Message from the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP,

Minister for Health

World No Tobacco Day 2011

31 May 2011

Today, the Cayman Islands will again join the countries around the world in observing the World Health Organization (WHO)'s World No Tobacco Day. This year the light will shine on a critical ally in the continuous fight against tobacco usage, namely the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC).

FCTC is the world's foremost tobacco control instrument. As the first treaty ever negotiated under the auspices of the WHO, it represents a signal achievement in the advancement of public health. In force only since 2005, it is already one of the most rapidly and widely embraced treaties in the history of the United Nations, with more than 170 participating parties.

I am proud to note that the Cayman Islands is already party to the FCTC through the UK. We can also take pride in the fact that we are one of the first countries in the Caribbean to enact anti-tobacco legislation ensuring a smoke-free environment for all our residents. As per our Tobacco Law, all enclosed public places, including work places, parks, indoor bars and restaurants, are 100 % smoke free. This comprehensive legislation also governs the sale, promotion, and use of tobacco in the Cayman Islands and meets our obligations under the FCTC.

Currently, 134 businesses - 2 cigar bars, 4 cigar stores, 5 wholesale distributors and 123 retailers - have registered with the Medical Officer of Health. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the business community in complying with the registration process. I am further pleased to see that most businesses have the appropriate 'No Smoking' signage in place. In this regard, I commend the Public Health Department and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society's efforts in helping businesses and other institutions procure these signs for their premises.

Let us all take a moment to reflect on the fact that every year more than five million people die from tobacco. As the leading preventable cause of death, globally tobacco kills someone every six seconds and accounts for one in every ten adult deaths - more than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined! Moreover, consider this: Tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends.

If you smoke, today is a good day to quit. If you know someone who smokes, encourage them to put it out for good, because everyone deserves a smoke-free environment!