Address to the Nation on the Observance of World No
Tobacco Day - May 31st, 2001, by the Acting Minister for
Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations
Fellow Saint Lucians, Tout Sitwayen peyi-a, Bon Swe,
It is with profound concern that I address you this
evening on an issue, which is of tremendous Public Health significance.
Today, Saint Lucia joins the rest of the world in observing World No
Tobacco Day, observed every year on May 31st.
This year, the World Health Organisation has chosen the theme, “Second
hand smoke kills: let’s clear the
World No Tobacco Day is observed annually in order to
heighten the level of awareness to the detrimental effects of tobacco
consumption on the health of smokers and in particular non-smokers.
This year we address the important issue- that of second hand smoke.
A preponderance of scientific evidence shows that
tobacco smoke contains approximately 4,000 chemicals, 40 of which are known
carcinogens. These chemicals when inhaled have a deleterious effect on the body,
resulting in cancers of various organs such as the tongue, lungs, pancreas,
bladder, etc. The pregnant woman
who smokes may have the fetus adversely affected resulting in low birth weight,
prematurity and when born is prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome commonly
known as SIDS.
Second hand smoke is the smoke exhaled by the smoker
as well as the smoke, which is given off from the top of the lighted cigarette.
What is disturbing about second hand smoke is that, as a non-smoker you
are involuntarily inhaling a poisonous substance, which can cause cancer in your
body, irritation and annoyance. Is
this fair? Is this social justice?
Lanne sala, WHO, ka obzeve
Jounen San Fimen denmen twantenyen me.
Sa ki pli entewesan se mannye late-a ka mete antansyon asou lafimen ki ka
afekta moun ki pa ka fimen.
Wechach ka moutjwe ki moun ki ka espiwe lafimen le
fime a wis pou jwenn maladi kanse evek fanm ki ansent sa osi ped ti zanfan yo;
enben fe ich yo avan le.
Fellow Saint Lucians, the World Health Organisation
has recognised that tobacco consumption is responsible for more deaths that the
dreaded AIDS disease and have estimated that unless tobacco consumption pattern
changes, by the year 2030, 10 million persons will die annually from the effects
of tobacco consumption. The world
is faced with a tobacco epidemic and Saint Lucia is part of that epidemic.
The Ministry of Health, Human Services, Family
Affairs & Gender Relations in collaboration with WHO have decided to address
this public health threat and are taking measures to reduce the prevalence of
tobacco consumption and exposure to second hand smoke.
The instrument that will be used is a convention or treaty on tobacco
control. This convention is likely
to come into effect in the year 2003.
The Government of Saint Lucia supports the general
principles of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
We believe that the FCTC will lay the foundation to protect our
adolescents and children from the scourge of tobacco consumption.
It is the policy of my Ministry to adopt appropriate
measures to control this public health problem. It is with this in mind that the Ministry, in the near
future, will establish a multisectoral committee, which will be mandated to
develop a comprehensive programme to control tobacco consumption and protect
non-smokers from second hand smoke. This
programme will be in congruence with the Framework Convention to Tobacco
Control. We are using this World No
Tobacco Day as the platform to launch this sensitisation programme.
We also recognize that the campaign to control second
hand smoke and reduce tobacco consumption must be addressed from a multisectoral
approach. It also requires the
active participation of families who are well placed to protect siblings and
non-smokers in the homes.
Already, the Government of St.
Lucia has spearheaded initiatives to control the exposure of second hand smoke
by declaring all health institutions Smoke Free Zone. To date, we have seen private sector enterprises embracing
this policy by also prohibiting smoking in their work places.
Taxi drivers and Mini-bus drivers have also taken the initiative to ban
smoking in their vehicles. I
commend them for their efforts.
As a responsible government we will ensure that the
health of the public is protected. But
government can do only so much. Each
individual, family and community must play an active role in protecting health
and preserving life. Government
places a high value on life and we are committed within our limitation to
undertake all necessary measures possible to promote health and well being and
assist individuals, families and communities to work towards achieving the goal
of a tobacco smoke free environment.
It is for this simple reason, fellow Saint Lucians, I
need to inform you that second hand smoke is dangerous to the health of the
smoker as well as the non-smoker and that smoking kills.
Gouvedman entewese an
sante tout jan peyi-a ek se pou wezon sala nou ja deklawe tout plas sante kon
lopital, Health Centre, Minis Sante se Zone Dan Fimen.
Nou an Gouvedman ka fe tout sa nou pe pou fe jan peyi konnet danje-a ki
an lafimen le fimen. Nou ka envite tout fami, konmin, lekol legliz, sendika eben
biznis pou sipote campaign sala.
I appeal to our youth who have not started to smoke, that they should at no time
experiment or try to take a puff. Because,
one puff might result in another, triggering a response to continue and very
shortly addiction sets in. Tobacco,
young people, is addictive.
smokers, I appeal to you to quit the habit.
On, ki ka fimen mwen ka mandew. Souple, doubout vye labitid sala. Pusi domaj-la kay pli ho ki pwi sante’w. Join the millions across the world who are beginning that
journey today. Whilst I understand
the difficulty you face, I urge you to make a conscious effort today.
Now is the time to stop. Destroy
that butt. For those of you seeking help, you may contact the St. Lucia
Cancer Society or the Bureau of Health Education.
Saint Lucians, health is a resource for everyday living and tobacco consumption
and exposure to second hand smoke severely compromises this resource.
So let’s clear the air: second
hand smoke kills.
Chonge sante’w se
lavi’w….. Wespektey !
YOU. Mesi ek bon swe anko.
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