Health News of Friday, 11 May 2012

Source: GNA

Parliament must protect the citizenry from tobacco smoking – Mr Ali

The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and Coalition on the Tobacco Control Bill, has appealed to Parliament to support smokers to quit smoking rather than designating areas for them to smoke.

“Parliament must protect its integrity against tobacco industry interferences by continuing to protect public health over tobacco profit,” Mr Issah Ali, Executive Director of VALD and the Coalition, said this in a statement to the Ghana News Agency.

Mr. Ali said there was no constitutional right to smoke and that exposing people to second hand smoking infringed on non-smokers’ right to health that could cause death and diseases.

“The constitutions of many countries and governments have the responsibility to protect their citizens’ right to the highest standard of health, to life, and to a safe work environment, and the right of a person to breathe clean air takes precedence over any possible right of smokers to pollute the air, he said.

Mr. Ali said ventilation systems and designated smoking rooms did not provide effective protection to the public and workers from the deadly effects of second hand smoke.

He said every year, second hand smoke caused over 600,000 premature deaths and that adults exposed to second hand smoke in the workplace were at greater risk of developing tobacco-related health problems than adults who work in smoke-free environments.

Mr. Ali said women and children were disproportionately harmed by second hand smoke from male smokers, and therefore smoke-free laws save lives and improved public health.

“Article 8 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, requires parties to adopt smoke-free laws to protect citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in workplaces, public transport and other indoor public places. Guidelines adopted by the treaty’s governing body make it clear that only 100% smoke-free laws meet the treaty requirements,” he said.**