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25% of Bahamians between the ages of 12 and 65 have smoked
By Llonella Gilbert
Jun 1, 2018 - 5:54:32 PM

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Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands speaks at a press conference at the Ministry, Thursday, May 31, 2018. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)

Nassau, The Bahamas - Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said findings from the 2017 National Household Drug Survey revealed that 25 percent of Bahamians between the ages of 12 and 65 years have at some point smoked, with males smoking about a four times higher rate than females.

“A Global Youth Survey conducted among Bahamians teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 years, showed that 13 per cent smoked tobacco,” the Health Minister said during a press conference to celebrate World No Tobacco Day at the Ministry, Thursday, May 31, 2018.

He said The Bahamas along with other member states of the World Health Organization annually mark May 31, as “World No Tobacco” Day, the goal is to draw public attention to the health and other risks associated with tobacco use.

Dr. Sands said there is a link between tobacco use and cardiovascular diseases including stroke, which when combined are the world's leading causes of death.

“World No Tobacco Day hits at the core of my Ministry's mandate to ensure that the highest quality of services for health promotion, health protection and health care are accessible to all people of The Bahamas.

“Further, it coincides with a range of initiatives by my Government aimed at not just treating the health ailments of the Bahamian people but also aggressively moving the paradigm more towards preventive medicine.”

He explained that the Government is revising the Tobacco Bill that addresses the situation in The Bahamas comprehensively.  Such a bill will allow:

  •     the monitoring of tobacco use in The Bahamas;
  •     better facilitate prevention policies;
  •     protect the Bahamian people from exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke by creating and increasing completely smoke-free indoor public spaces and workplaces;
  •     strengthen partnerships for smoking cessation programs and other interventions;
  •     implement effective anti-tobacco media campaigns that inform the public, especially the youth, about the harms of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure; and
  •     create a mechanism for the enforcement and levying of fines and penalties for infractions.

“My Ministry led a review process involving multiple health and non-health partners from October 2017 to January 2018, which informed recommendations and guidance to the Attorney General's Office, who was given charge of reviewing the draft Bill.  I look forward to submitting this to Cabinet and starting the process in the Honourable House of Assembly of passing this Bill,” Dr. Sands said.

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