Campaign: smoke-free schools by 2014

POSTED: 09/12/12 1:50 PM

St. Maarten – Out of a global population of seven billion people, nearly 3.8 billion people according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are now covered by an effective tobacco control measure.

The number of people now protected by tobacco control measures is growing at a remarkable pace. The progress made on applying measures that reduce the demand for tobacco is a sign of the increasing impact of the WHO framework convention on tobacco control, which continues to be one of the most rapidly embraced, measurably successful treaties in United Nations history.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the ministry of public health, social development and labor is spearheading an initiative to implement 100 percent smoke-free schools by 2014. A number of meetings between government, non-governmental organizations and health care officials will take place over the coming weeks and months to create awareness about the initiative.

Yesterday, CPS head Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostberg opened the first meeting followed by a presentation of the tobacco cessation campaign: 100% smoke free schools by 2014 by team coordinator Dr. Daphne Illis.

Presentations were also done by Minerva Maccow on behalf of the ministry of education, culture, youth and sports about the role of education in the campaign. Tanya Bobo-Lenoci spoke about the global youth tobacco survey as a monitoring tool for tobacco control, and Dr. Adrianna Blanca, a technical officer for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), presented an expert perspective on tobacco control and tobacco cessation programs.

“A few months ago I asked the public and the businesses in particular to create smoke free areas in their establishments. I want to encourage them to continue doing so. Now is the time to step up our awareness and the best place to begin is in our schools. The consequences of smoking are detrimental to our health and this in turn is costly for the treatment and care of patients. I encourage all those who do not smoke to continue not smoking and those who smoke to reduce and/or stop smoking completely,” Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever said yesterday.

According to a 2011 WHO report about smoking, “tobacco continues to kill nearly six million people each year, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to tobacco smoke. Up to half of the world’s one billion smokers will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease.”

As part of the minister’s “Get Checked,” campaign, people have the power to change the aforementioned circumstances, and the logical step is creating smoke-free public spaces.

For information about the campaign contact CPS on 542 30 03 or 542 20 78.

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