Tobacco legislation to be tabled soon – Dr Cummings

first_imgMinister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings has outlined that Government planned to pass legislation altering the use of tobacco in the country.According to Dr Cummings, Government will be embarking on a number of initiatives with the aim of promoting a healthier Guyana and improving the productivity of its people.She said during the recently-held Unicomer health fair and expo that the tabling of the tobacco legislation was high on Government’s agenda.Last year, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) made calls for Guyana to pass tobacco control legislation, citing it as a top priority.According to PAHO, each year, tobacco kills six million people: 5.4 million active smokers and 600,000 non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. It is the single legal consumer product that kills up to half of its users when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer, costing the global economy an estimated US0 billion each year.The Health Organisation had posited that the legislation was intended to protect present and future generations from the “devastating harms” of tobacco use, exposure to tobacco smoke and specifically to prevent tobacco use among youths. The legislation would also seek to ensure that the public is protected from the commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry, while preventing the illicit trade in tobacco products.The Minister believes that having the legislation passed will effectively reduce the illnesses associated with usage of the substance.“Having the legislation passed does not mean that the drug will be banned, but rather laws associated with the usage will be altered so that the drug is not readily available for purchase in an instant,” the Minister said.She highlighted that once the bill was passed in Parliament, the particulars relating to the purchase of tobacco would be reviewed, including the alteration of the age requirement for persons to purchase the drug.Ideally, no one should engage in smoking tobacco, but since that is difficult to achieve, the Minister said the Government will institute new laws that would make it more difficult for persons to get access to and use the drug.Additionally, she stated, smoking indirectly leaves a burden on the health administration of the country and that should be considered when persons decide to use the drug.As tobacco is one of the drugs that have a lasting effect on users, Cummings said that health practitioners were the ones who were left with the responsibility of having to nurse persons back to life. As such, the passing of the legislation will prove effective in improving the lives of the country’s population as well as reducing the strain on the Government and medical personnel.The Minister disclosed that there were a number of other strategies which the Government was contemplating to address the health situation as well as to promote safe lifestyles and practices.To achieve these goals, the Government will be partnering with a number of stakeholders along with faith-based organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other relevant bodies to adopt these positive health practices in Guyana.Dr Cummings said that the Government was planning on adopting policies that promote healthy eating which would significantly reduce the risk factors of related weight and cardiovascular diseases.“These strategic initiatives can be expected to be seen in the near future as the health of the population remains at the top of the [Public Health] Ministry’s concerns,” the Minister said.last_img

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