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World No Tobacco Day 2013

World No Tobacco Day 2013

To educate the public about the devastating effects of tobacco smoke on people’s health, World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2013 will highlight Article 13 of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which speaks to a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.

Comprehensive advertising bans have been found to positively impact the numbers of people who decide to start or to quit smoking. Indeed, statistics have shown that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand. For this reason such a step is considered to be a tobacco control “best buy”.

The Cayman Islands is already a party to the FCTC and our Tobacco Law 2008, particularly Section 4, imposes a comprehensive ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship. We are one of the first countries in the Caribbean to enact anti-tobacco legislation to ensure a smoke-free environment for all residents and visitors.

Further statistics show that the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 die from breathing second-hand smoke. Unless the world acts against tobacco, smoking will kill more than 8 million people every year by 2030. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally. It is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults world-wide.

“This is a global problem, but also something that can affect us all as individuals. I encourage everyone to take a stance against smoking today, before it is too late,” urges the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kiran Kumar.

Dr. Kumar added that it is rewarding to note that from the Healthy Nation Survey have shown that 86.7% of both sexes report noticing health warnings on cigarette packages. Of this number, 72% thought of quitting after reading the warning labels.

While the Cayman Islands does not have data on the number of deaths directly attributed to smoking, according to the Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey “Healthy Nation 2012”, 15% of the population aged 25-64 years currently smoke tobacco.

The Healthy Nation 2012 survey also found that men are twice as likely to smoke tobacco as women (20.7% and 9% respectively). Among those that smoke, the majority (67.1%) smoke daily. It is also interesting to note that among women 35-44 years of age, 79.35% of those surveyed said they smoke daily as compared to 52.4% of men in the same age group.

As a part of this year's World No Tobacco Day observance, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the Public Health Department have launched a poster competition in the schools, whereby students are encouraged to create images that depict the harmful effects smoking has on the body.

There will also be a series of presentations and other messages that focus on the negative effects of tobacco, shared with the public through media and schools.

The Public Health Department also wishes to recognise Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, which is currently working, on a phased basis, to create a smoke free environment in the prison.

"The decision to make HM prisons smoke free was made for both health and safety reasons, as well as to be compliant with the Tobacco Law 2008 and Regulation 2010. Given the serious health consequences of smoking and second hand smoke, we considered it to be the right thing to do for our prisoners and staff” notes Aduke Natalie Caesar Josephs , acting Deputy Director of Her Majesty Prison

Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners observe World No Tobacco Day. This day highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use and is also used to advocate for effective policies to reduce consumption.

For more information, contact Therese Prehay in the Public Health Department on 244-2632.

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks