World No Tobacco Day marked

Pictured are New Woodlands home-based carers, representatives of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and pre-med student volunteers from Spellman College in Atlanta Georgia, USA.

Dozens of people completed healthy lifestyle risk assessments, a smoking breathaliser and blood pressure testing at an anti-tobacco awareness programme at Northwood hall, in New Woodlands, on Thursday May 31.

The screening helped pre-med student volunteers from Spellman College in Atlanta Georgia, USA, New Woodlands home-based carers and representatives of the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) tailor information to help improve their health.

Each participant’s results was discussed with them in

Cansa staff presented videos and talks on the negative impact of smoking and the harmful effects of passive smoking.

After screening, participants received a warm cup of soup and a sandwich with some fruit, all supplied by generous donors in the community.

The students came to South Africa to find out more about the health environment which will guide and assist them in their decision on which disciplines they will choose as their career.

The public can comment on and make submissions to national government about its draft Tobacco Bill.

The City of Cape Town supports the bill, which will replace existing tobacco legislation and includes a number of aspects that are key to the City’s mandate – enforcement of the legislation and promoting the health and well-being of residents.

The City’s Health Department is responsible for awareness and education around the dangers of smoking and the impact on personal and environmental health, but also the enforcement of tobacco legislation, in conjunction with the Cape Town Traffic Service, Metro Police and the South African Police Service.

Some of the proposals in the Bill relate to additional curbs on smoking in public places; the effective shutdown of indoor smoking areas; regulations for electronic devices; and a prohibition on smoking in cars transporting children younger than 18.

The theme for World No Tobacco Day – marked on May 31 – this year was “Tobacco and heart disease”.

The campaign looks at the link between tobacco and the heart as well as other cardiovascular diseases like strokes which, combined, are the world’s leading causes of death, according to the World Health Organisation.

In South Africa, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has indicated that cardiovascular disease is responsible for almost one in six deaths.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, said many tobacco-related deaths, whether from cardiovascular disease or second-hand smoke, could be avoided.

He said the bill had the potential to initiate change that would force people to, at the very least, smoke less.

“The City will provide input on the bill and we encourage the public to be part of the process to help us craft legislation that will ultimately benefit public health,” he said.

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