Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ministry of Health to hold launching ceremony for Tobacco Control measures in Belize

Belmopan. October 18th, 2010. The Ministry of Health National Drug Abuse Control Council is pleased to announce the official launching ceremony of the Frame work Convention on Tobacco Control Article Eight (Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke) to take place on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 starting at 9:00am at the Belize Telemedia Limited Constitution Park, Belize City.

Belize signed onto the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on September 26th, 2003 and ratified it on December 15th, 2005. In order to fulfill its obligations under the FCTC the country developed the Belize National Tobacco Control Plan 2007-2012 which was launched on May 31st, 2007.

Since then, the Ministry of Health and the Bureau of Standards of Belize with the technical support of the Pan American Health Organization have been working on the implementation of the plan.

In an effort to maintain a Smoke Free Environment, Cabinet has approved Article Eight (Protection from Exposure to tobacco smoke) with the following measures:
*the prohibition of smoking within Government Buildings
*the prohibition of smoking in private business where the public accesses services, for example: Lobbies of Banks, hotels. Restaurants must indicate ‘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
*public awareness and education activities to promote this initiative

Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin mentioned that he is encouraged by the steps taken to fulfill the obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and he is committed to assist at Cabinet so that we can ensure full compliance with the other articles.

In Belize it is estimated that 37% of our deaths each year is related to cancers and other tobacco-related diseases. A Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) published in 2008 showed that almost 1 in 5 students currently use some form of tobacco (8% smoking cigarettes) and one in 10 students currently use some other form of tobacco aside from cigarettes. 74.7% of the respondents want to stop smoking and 61.4% think smoking should be banned from public places.Guest speakers at the ceremony will include the Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin and representatives from PAHO.

A Tobacco-Sensitization Fair follows the official ceremony with participation from the Cancer Society, Bureau of Standards and several primary schools from the Belize district area. The media is especially invited to attend.

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