Cayman lights up against tobacco use

Today is World No Tobacco Day, and Cayman is taking the opportunity to strike a match against tobacco companies’ misleading advertising messages.

The annual observance also comes as the Ministry of Health and Human Services prepares comprehensive legislation governing tobacco sale and use, said a GIS press release.

‘The legislation aims to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke,’ said Health Minister Anthony Eden.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar noted that WNTD is an opportunity for everyone in the Cayman Islands to wisely filter the confusing messages that tobacco companies send, and to take a stand in the fight against tobacco use.

‘Adults, children and policymakers are becoming increasingly aware that all tobacco products – from cigarettes to snuff – are extremely harmful, but more education is still needed,’ he said.

Some of that education focues on the strategies of the tobacco companies. ‘One strategy used to entice people to smoke is to add flavours, such as fruit or chocolate, to the tobacco,’ said Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay. ‘Furthermore, descriptions such as ‘light,’ ‘ultra light’ and ‘low tar’ mislead the public into thinking that these products do not carry the same health risks of other tobacco products.’

The Public Health Department has organized a number of WNTD initiatives, including educational sessions in schools, and sending letters to local businesses asking them to observe a smoke-free day in their establishments. A brochure explaining some of the chemicals (nicotine, ammonia and carbon monoxide) found in cigarette smoke, as well as their harmful effects, has also been produced will be distributed to health clinics, businesses and schools.

In 1987, the World Health Organization designated 31 May as the annual observance of World No Tobacco Day. WNTD stresses the importance of fighting against the tobacco epidemic, and reducing the preventable death and diseases caused by its consumption.

Mrs. Prehay encourages people who want to quit smoking to consult their health professionals.

Help to quit

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society, Department of Counselling Services and the Public Health Department has joined forces to help smokers quit by launching a cessation program. Classes begin tonight and will run consecutively for six weeks, with each class lasting for one hour. For more information about this program Christine Sanders at 949-7618 or [email protected].


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