The Tobacco Control Bill will help the fight against NCDs-Minister Dr. Karen Cummings

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 27, 2017

The country can no longer drag its feet on implementing stringent measures to counter the devastating effects of tobacco on the health and wellbeing of our people. This was the view expressed Thursday evening, by Minister within the Ministry of Health Dr. Karen Cummings. The Minister was addressing the House in support of the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill 2017.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings

The Bill which was drafted in 2011, under the previous administration, has “been put on the backburner for too long,” Minister Cummings said. She said that the coalition government is committed to moving past the rhetoric, and having the legislation passed and made into law.

Minister Cummings, who called on the House to support the passage of the Bill, noted that it is a “game shifting legislation,” that will save the lives of many a Guyanese. “We have a responsibility to our people to put legislation in place to protect their health…let your conscience be your guide and commit to the passage of the Bill,” the Minister urged the House.

In seeking the House’s support for the Bill’s passage, the Minister also noted that a similar call was made by former Minister of Public Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy for the legislation to receive “unqualified support”. Dr. Ramsammy had contributed to the crafting of the Bill.

“Let us protect the future of our children, let us preserve the lives of citizens,” the Minister urged, noting that the legislation does this by regulating key risk factors of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). She reiterated that the battle against NCDs cannot be won without winning the fight against tobacco.

NCDs, especially cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes, have overtaken infectious diseases as the world’s leading killers and now cause nearly two out of every three deaths worldwide. Eighty percent of these deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, straining health care systems, contributing to poverty and posing a major barrier to development.

Tobacco use is the only risk factor shared by all four main categories of NCDs. Tobacco accounts for nearly one in six deaths from NCDs and kills nearly seven million people worldwide each year.

The Tobacco Control Bill 2017 provides for the adoption and implementation of tobacco control policies in accordance with the World Health Organisation(WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The WHO framework aims to protect present and future generations from the devastating harms of tobacco use and exposure to smoke; to prevent tobacco use by minors; to protect workers and the public from exposure to tobacco smoke and to prevent exposure of the public, especially minors, to tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, among others.

 

By: Macalia Santos

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