WHO has dedicated this day, 31st of May otherwise known
as, World No Tobacco Day to
engage on a worldwide public education campaign aimed at warning communities
about the dangers of using tobacco products. The international theme for this
year is: Tobacco:  Deadly in
any form or Disguise.
identifies with this years theme because it is one of the countries where
the so-called "less harmful" tobacco products have flooded its market
through the tobacco industry.
The Department of Health supports the World Health
Organisation in its call to discourage the people of the world not to use any
form of tobacco products. The aim of the Department of Health is to assist
smokers to quit smoking and encourage those who have not started, to
sustain that behaviour and most importantly to live a healthy
life-style, and also educate vulnerable people to cut out other habits that are
threatening their health, said the Director of Health Promotion in the
Department of Health, Ms Zanele Mthembu.
Tobacco addiction is a global epidemic that is increasingly
ravaging countries and causes unnecessary diseases, disabilities and death.
The tobacco industry continues to put profits and its own expansion before the
health and development of struggling countries.  As nations fight back the
burden of diseases, tobacco companies continue to launch tobacco products that
are disguised and considered to be less harmful and more attractive.
The South African government has a mandate to empower
communities with knowledge that will enable them to make informed decision about
these deadly tobacco products which are pipes, snuff, snus, smokeless, cigars,
clove, biddies and may be flavoured with fruit, mint, chocolate etc.
All these products are deadly and addictive, and they
deprive people the ability to make healthy choices.  Uninformed families
and individuals are at risk to use products that carry harmful substances and
cause chronic diseases.  The truth is that, it is possible to empower
people to improve their own health and that of their families, friend and
communities, said Ms Mthembu.
The South African government, in its endeavour to
protect and promote public health, has amended the existing tobacco legislation
(Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 12, 1999) to close the loopholes that
have been exploited by the Tobacco industry but also to keep it in line with the
World Health Organisation. The 2006 Bill has been approved by Cabinet and is
awaiting Parliamentary processes.
Once this Bill is enacted amongst others, it will
ban: entry of anyone under the age of 18 in smoking
areas, placement of tobacco vending machines in any
place either than smoking areas, Sale of tobacco
products in certain institutions like hospitals, Smoking in certain outdoor
Zanele Mthembu (Director of Health Promotion) Department of
Tel:  012-312-0165        Cell: 082-574-3777