Today is World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), a day designated to raise awareness on the dangers of smoking. WNTD is being observed under the theme ‘Tobacco Health Warnings’. It was ushered in, locally, yesterday, with a Tobacco Awareness Exhibition at the City Mall, located at the corner of Camp and Regent Streets.
The exhibition was orchestrated by the Ministry of Health and comes as part of the Youth Friendly Programme within the Ministry, said Health Promotion Co-ordinator, Lucy Anderson.
According to Anderson, the Youth Friendly Programme, which has been introduced countrywide, usually has an outreach at the Mall once every month, pointing out that yesterday was focused primarily on Tobacco in recognition of WNTD.
The exhibition site ,served as a venue to enlighten members of the public about the dangers of tobacco use, Anderson said, pointing out that the main target group for edification were young people.
Among the attractions yesterday were games. The likes of crosswords, word search and true and false questions which sought to clarify how the use of tobacco can affect an individual. Persons were also provided with Smoke Free Stickers to emphasise their desire to have a non-smoking status.
Additionally, a total of 30 peer educators drawn from Youth Friendly Programmes in Linden, Georgetown and Region Five, were on site to provide counselling sessions to young people.
But according to Anderson, the main attraction was a diagram that graphically illustrated how a smoker’s body can deteriorate over time.
“Everybody was very interested in the smoker’s body because that diagram gives information about the different parts of the body affected when you smoke and that is practically the entire body,” Anderson asserted.
And activities to commemorate the day will not end today. Anderson has announced that three other exhibitions will commence on Monday at the National Library, the University of Guyana and at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. These activities she said, will last for at least one week.
Plans for a tobacco free walk in Linden is also in trained and will serve as a move to advocate for a day to be designated ‘National No Smoking Day’ where persons resolve to ensure that they do not smoke that day.
The Ministry, last week, teamed-up with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company to raise awareness about tobacco use through its text messaging services.
According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death, as more than five million people die from the effects of tobacco every year, more than from HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
It was noted that tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as the manufacturer intends, a situation which results in about half of all smokers dying from a tobacco-related disease.
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