Health, Education ministries focusing on educating youth on the dangers of smoking

─ as Guyana observes ‘World No Tobacco Day’

In observance of ‘World No Tobacco Day’, the ministries of Health and Education will be partnering to craft programmes, and other initiatives to better educate the younger population on the dangers of tobacco smoking.

Despite the many health issues developed from smoking, there is still approximately 12 percent of the country’s adult population indulging in this harmful activity.

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P.

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, M.P, said, “there is a two-pronged approach that we want to use; the first is prevention, and to prevent smoking we need to talk to younger people and to get them to understand the dangers of smoking.”

The minister was speaking on Tuesday, at a sensitisation event held on Main Street Avenue, Georgetown.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson, during his remarks said education is key to preventing tobacco smoking among the younger population.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson.

“We have the responsibility of spreading the word and becoming agents of change, and so sometimes we have information and we keep the information to ourselves, and so information like this must get into the school systems where our students must be targeted at a very early stage so as they grow and develop, they too, can become agents of change,” he said.

In 2017, a legislation was passed to reduce the prevalence of smoking in society, as well as prevent smoking in public spaces.

Meanwhile, speaking during today’s COVID-19 Update, Dr. Anthony noted that the government is working with business entities to ensure they are well aware of Guyana’s laws governing tobacco smoking.

Health official demonstrating what happens to the lungs of smokers.

“We also want to reduce the accessibility of cigarettes, and therefore, our shop owners and other such entities, we have been working with them and getting them to understand what is in the law and how they can help with this fight against tobacco smoking,” he noted.

The health minister noted too, that smokers are at a higher risk of getting the severe form of COVID-19 as they would have developed underlying illnesses due to smoking.

Tobacco smoking can lead to a number of health problems such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders.

A citizen reading about the effects of tobacco smoking.

Additionally, tobacco can affect people directly (someone smoking) as well as through second hand smoking (inhaling smoke from someone who is smoking).

World no tobacco day is being observed under the theme “Tobacco: A threat to our environment.”