World No Tobacco Day Message
Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners everywhere celebrate World No Tobacco Day.
The purpose of the observance is to bring global attention to the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.
As a WHO partner, and one of the 178 countries that are a party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Cayman Islands is a proud supporter of this initiative and proud to be a leader in tobacco control efforts in the Caribbean region.
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for 10% of adult deaths worldwide. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. Unless we continue to act decisively, the epidemic will kill more than eight million people every year by 2030.
The ultimate goal of World No Tobacco Day is to help protect present and future generations from the devastating health consequences of tobacco, but also from the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
For World No Tobacco Day 2014, WHO is calling on countries to raise taxes on tobacco. Under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), countries should implement tax and price policies on tobacco products as a way to reduce tobacco consumption.
We firmly believe we have an indispensable role to play in protecting the health of our people and thrive to align with the requirements of the FCTC. I am therefore proud to note that in 2012, Government doubled the duty (tax) on tobacco products. Our Tobacco Law 2008 and Tobacco Regulations 2010 include measures prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to and by minors, banning smoking in public places, and regulating the advertising and promotion of tobacco products.
Whilst the Tobacco Law and Regulations provide a sound means to protect public health, we are committed to fulfill all of the objectives of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control one of which is the demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation. To this end, I am pleased to note that in early June the Public Health Department will launch a smoking cessation programme to be led by a team of highly trained staff who will offer year round assistance to the public.
I am disturbed to note that 15% of our population aged 25-64 years currently smoke tobacco, according to the Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey "Healthy Nation 2012".
As Minister of Health, I personally implore you all to take a stance against tobacco even though I recognize it is a difficult addiction to quit. I also want to take this opportunity to reflect on those who have lost their lives or lost loved ones as a direct result of the deleterious impact of tobacco smoke. If you are a smoker, please seek necessary help to you stop smoking, and encourage your loved ones who smoke to do the same.
Making the decision to quit smoking is one of the best decisions that you can ever make in your life for you and your loved ones.
Love yourself and your neighbour - good health is everything.
For further information contact: Yvette Cacho