Quit smoking cigarettes, health minister says

Health officials are urging people to quit tobacco use with World No Tobacco Day approaching on May 31.

In the run-up this year’s World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization is calling on countries to raise taxes on tobacco products to deter people from using them.

Two years ago, the Cayman Islands government doubled import duty on cigarettes with duty on a carton of cigarettes set at $42.

“We firmly believe we have an indispensable role to play in protecting the health of our people and thrive to align with the requirements of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” Minister of Health Osbourne Bodden said in a press release.

“I am therefore proud to note that in 2012, Government doubled the duty on tobacco products. Our Tobacco Law 2008 and Tobacco Regulations 2010 include measures prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to and by minors, banning smoking in public places, and regulating the advertising and promotion of tobacco products,” he added.

Smokers looking to buy one carton of cigarettes in the Cayman Islands will have to pay around $81.50 to get it.

In recent news, the high price of tobacco products in the Cayman Islands was highlighted when three people were arrested in connection with smuggling seven cartons of cigarettes through Owen Roberts International Airport, valued at $294. Acting Collector of Customs Samantha Bennett said following the arrests that there was a growing trend in smuggling of duty-free cigarettes, which end up on the black market.

Mr. Bodden said the purpose of World No Tobacco Day is “to help protect present and future generations from the devastating health consequences of tobacco, but also from the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.”

Mr. Bodden also mentioned some local statistics on tobacco use.

“I am disturbed to note that 15 percent of our population aged 25-64 years currently smoke tobacco, according to the Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey ‘Healthy Nation 2012,’” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is currently responsible for 10 percent of adult deaths worldwide. Tobacco usage kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.

To help smokers quit the habit, the Cayman Islands’ Public Health Department is launching a seven-week smoking cessation program on June 4.

“I personally implore you all to take a stance against tobacco, even though I recognize it is a difficult addiction to quit,” said Mr. Bodden.

“If you are a smoker, please seek necessary help to you stop smoking, and encourage your loved ones who smoke to do the same. Making the decision to quit smoking is one of the best decisions that you can ever make in your life for you and your loved ones,” he added.

To register for the smoking cessation program, contact Sarah Hetley in the Public Health Department on 244-2889, or email [email protected] The program begins on June 4 and will run on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Public Health Department.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hmmm…….maybe along with urging the public to quit smoking, the Minister for Health should also refrain from allowing the sale of tobacco products at his premises of business. That to me is disturbing. I must in all fairness note that that I do applaud the Health Ministers urging for those who smoke to quit. As a former smoker myself I can tell you that giving up the filthy habit was the healthiest and best decision I ever made.

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