The World Health organization has declared that 31 May each year shall be observed as World No Tobacco Day.
The theme for this year is Health Professionals Against Tobacco – Action and Answers.
This theme reflects the fact that health-professional bodies are recognized in the preamble to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control as having a special contribution to tobacco control efforts.
This is of particular significance to the Cayman Islands this year as we prepare for tobacco control legislation that will abide by the terms of the FCTC, the world’s first global public health treaty.
Who are these health professionals and what role can they play?
These health professionals are doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, pharmacists and other members of health-related professions.
The role they can play is extensive.
Firstly, as respected members of the community they can act as role models to the community by not using tobacco and promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Health professionals can stay abreast of the dangers of using tobacco products and of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and use this knowledge and their influence in the community to lobby for legislative change and tobacco control to protect the health of smokers and non-smokers in the Cayman Islands.
Health professionals have the opportunity and the ability to help people change their behaviour.
The Cancer Society encourages them to make a routine of asking patients and clients about tobacco usage and exposure to tobacco smoke and based on scientific evidence and best practice offer advice on tobacco cessation.
These professionals must work closely with nutritionists, fitness professionals and facilitators of recognized smoking cessation programs to ensure that patients/clients are given the best opportunity for success.
To all the people of the Cayman Islands, we urge you to become familiar with the dangers of using tobacco and of exposure to tobacco smoke by talking to a health professional.
The use of tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke is linked to heart disease, many cancers including lung and oral cancer and many other diseases and conditions and is associated with rising healthcare costs around the world.
We therefore encourage you to talk with a health professional about tobacco and its effects on you, your family, friends and colleagues.
If you are a user of tobacco products and are determined and ready to quit for yourself, health professionals and others will work together to help make this a reality.
Do it for yourself today.
The Cancer Society is available to help and can be reached at 949-7618 or at [email protected]
In closing, we wish to state that the Cayman Islands Cancer Society supports the introduction of legislation governing tobacco in the Cayman Islands and is looking forward to the day when this becomes a reality.
Dr. Sook Yin
Cayman Islands Cancer Society