San Pedro joins Belize and the world in observing “World No Tobacco Day 2012”
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
Over 200 islanders walked the major streets of San Pedro Town on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2012 celebrated under the theme “Tobacco Industry Interference.” The event took place on Thursday May 31st and started from in front of the Central Park and ended at the same location. The walk coincided with events planned country wide in various major district towns and cities. The walk was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Health through the National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The main purpose of the walk was to create awareness about the use of tobacco and other drugs and the serious dangers they pose to public and personal health. According to a statement from WHO in Belize, “the campaign focus is on the need to expose the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control because of the serious danger they pose to public health.”
Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death globally and according to estimates from WHO, global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. For WHO, the continuous campaign is to ensure that the numbers don’t reach up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80% will live in low and middle-income countries such as Belize.
In San Pedro, those that walked displayed posters encouraging people to discontinue the use of tobacco and smoking. Some posters also displayed the health problems associated with tobacco and smoking. Also in numbers were members of the San Pedro Cancer Society as well as representatives from the San Pedro Town Council including Councilor Wally Nunez who has the responsibility of working closely with organizations such as NDACC.
In Belize the Government approved a number of measures in September of 2010 for the protection of the General Public as it relates to the Framework Convention of Tobacco Control Article Eight.
Those measures include
- The prohibition of smoking within Government buildings.
- The prohibition of smoking in private business where the public accesses services for example: lobbies of banks and hotels. Restaurants must indicate large and clearly “smoking” and “no smoking areas.
- The prohibition of smoking in all primary, secondary and tertiary learning institutions, whether public, church-state or privately managed.
- The prohibition of smoking in public transportation including all terminals.
- Public display of “No Smoking Signs” in areas where smoking is prohibited. And
- Public awareness and education activities to promote the initiatives.
To celebrate the occasion NDACC displayed booths at various health centers across the country including Punta Gorda, Dangriga, Orange Walk Town and Corozal Town. On Friday June 1st, villagers of Caye Caulker hosted a short ceremony and health fair at the Central Park.
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