Health Ministry & Partners Commemorate World No Tobacco Day

By Millicent Senava Mannah

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and other partners, has commemorated World No Tobacco Day  by organizing a Symposium on the 31st May, 2023 on the theme : “Grow Food Not Tobacco” at the Sierra Light House at Aberdeen in Freetown.

It was stated that yearly, members of the public are informed about the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco health hazards  and what people around the world can do to claim their right to healthy living and to protect future generations.

The Chief Medical Officer, Sattie Kanneh, commended the President for signing the Tobacco Nicotine Bill which made it become an Act adding how the Act condemns tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship amongst others.

He gave tribute to the millions of people who have died from tobacco, assuring every one of their commitment in raising the awareness about the dangers of tobacco.

The CMO pointed out that we are losing 3,000 people in the country every year because of tobacco intake further asserting  that they will continue to work with organizations that are focused on the fight of eradicating  tobacco consumption  or to minimize the amount that is imported into the country.

The keynote speaker disclosed that they will render help to those who want to quit smoking adding how they will raise awareness on the dangers and health risks of tobacco.

He disclosed that the Government will increase taxes on tobacco and make it less available for consumption furthering how there is need to be passionate in the fight against tobacco importation and marketing.

The CMO concluded that globally farmers should be encouraged to grow food instead of tobacco stating how growing crops will help reduce food crisis in the world.

Representative of WHO, Silassi Amah D’almedia, revealed that about 480,000 people die out of tobacco globally every year further stating how smokers are at greater risk of contracting diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels.

‘’When you have a sick population your economy will be low and to have a good life, we need life, ’’ he said.

He affirmed that, they will continue to work with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to support Public Health and economic development in the country.

Dr. Sesay of the MOHS stated that the purpose of the Act is to protect  public health , protect the rights of non-users of tobacco and provide a clean and healthy environment as well as to promote and provide rehabilitation to for those who want to quit smoking.

He continued that the Act condemns the selling of cigarettes by stick, and how retailers should sell the whole pack to customers, stating how, the higher the price, the less people will go for it.

Dr. Sesay said cigarettes, shisha, and other drugs must not be used in public places. “We are looking forward to the Police, Standards Bureau and other stakeholders to enforce the law,’’ he stated

The event was climaxed other speakers delivering various statements related to theme, a skit performance and a question and answer session.


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