As part of World No Tobacco Day, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society is hoping for the community to become more aware of the dangers of smoking.
The World Health Organisation has sponsored the annual event, scheduled for today, since its inception in 1988.
About 1.1 billion people smoke and 3.5 million die every year due to tobacco-related diseases, according to WHO.
The Cayman Islands has been involved in marking the day for many years, according to Christine Sanders, education and office manager of the society.
‘It is always a fixture on the calendar here,’ she said.
The theme for this year’s event is Health Professionals Against Tobacco – Action and Answers.
‘The real significance of this theme is that healthcare professionals can play a big part in the fight against tobacco, whether in the legislative arena or through helping people quit smoking or as role models,’ Ms Sanders said.
In addition, she is a member of the Ministry of Health Services-appointed steering committee to develop a tobacco act for the Cayman Islands.
‘We have been working very hard on legislation and are hopefully quite close to having a draft and being able to present it and talk about it,’ Ms Sanders said.
The Public Health Department has been providing special information packets ahead of the event and has planned several activities on the day, according to Therese Prelay, health promotions officer for the PHD.
The PHD has sent information packages to schools, distributed brochures, and provided posters to doctors’ offices, schools and local retailers encouraging people not to smoke for the day.
Ms Prelay and Ms Sanders will also be interviewed by Barrie Quappe on Rooster 101.9’s Cayman Crosstalk between 8am and 9am today.
Educating the public is key, according to Ms Prelay.
‘It is hoped that awareness will be created so that residents will gain an appreciation from the information being disseminated, that smoking kills,’ she said.
Ms Prelay cited WHO statistics categorising tobacco as the second major cause of death in the world, responsible for one out of 10 fatalities.
According to WHO, by the year 2020, 10 million people a year will die from tobacco, if current smoking patterns continue.
‘The PHD wants to promote an environment where non-smoking is the norm among residents and non-residents alike,’ Ms Prelay said.