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TODAY WEDNESDAY MAY 31 IS  “WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY”

 

ST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA, MAY 29, 2017 - GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICE (GIS): - Tobacco - a threat to development” is the theme chosen for this year’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), observance. Every year, on 31 May, countries around the world highlight the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

This year’s focus is aimed at highlighting the links between the use of tobacco products, tobacco control and sustainable development, while at the same time encouraging countries to include tobacco control in their national responses to 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The campaign also calls for support from civil society to combat the tobacco industry’s interference in the political processes, in turn leading to stronger national tobacco control action.

Tobacco control supports health and development

While the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries to prioritize and accelerate tobacco control measures, tobacco control advocates strongly believe that countries would benefit from successfully controlling the tobacco epidemic, above all by protecting their citizens from the harms of tobacco use and reducing its economic toll on national economies.

Health experts say tobacco use contributes to premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancers and chronic obstructed pulmonary disease.  Many believe that increasing taxes on tobacco products can also be used to finance universal health coverage and other development programs of the government.

However according to global reports some 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low- or middle-income countries, which face increased challenges to achieving their development goals.

Grenada’s Perspective

Tobacco use is a clear and direct threat to any person, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies.

Tobacco use costs national economies enormously through increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and healthcare.

In 2016 the MOH conducted the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) among 13-15 year old students in secondary schools across Grenada, and according to the data on Tobacco use: 9.7% of students, 12.5% of boys and 7.1% of girls used any tobacco products.

Electronic Cigarettes: 7.2% of students, 9.7% of boys and 4.9% of girls used electronic cigarettes.

Secondhand Smoke: The data further indicated that some 18.2% of students were exposed to tobacco smoke at home, while 40.4% of students were exposed to tobacco smoke inside enclosed public places.

Access and Availability: 29.3% of current cigarette smokers obtained cigarettes by buying them from a store, shop, or street vendor. Among current cigarette smokers who bought cigarettes, 70.4% were not prevented from buying them because of their age.

In addition to saving lives and reducing health inequalities, experts say based on the current data, comprehensive tobacco control can curb the growing problem among young people in Grenada. The GYTS survey is conducted every 5 years.