Stop smoking, save your family, warns Brunei's health minister

Stop smoking, save your family, warns Brunei's health minister

Smoking has the uncanny ability to miraculously reduce your weight - but one lung at a time.

The inhalation of tobacco smoke has existed for centuries and according to the World Health Organisation's (WHO) findings, tobacco use has been the single largest global cause of preventable death.

In 2013 alone it led to an estimated 5.4 million deaths worldwide.

Hence today May 31, WHO and its global partners advocate a 24-hour abstinence from all forms of tobacco use to mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) - and the Sultanate stands as no exception.

The Minister of Health in a statement said the world was increasingly becoming more aware of the epidemic threat and burden tobacco use posed on public health.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Mohd Yusof said of the recorded 5.4 million deaths, more than 600 thousand were from second-hand smoke or passive smokers.

WNTD 2014's theme highlights a need to raise taxes on tobacco, inflation and thus making it more expensive.

Premise on the Demand and Supply Law, the rationale asserts the consumer's demand for a product declines when it becomes less affordable.

However the minister renounced the Sultanate faced a different kind of challenge because Brunei has already enforced laws and tobacco control regulations banning on smoking in public places and prohibiting the sales and advertisements.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Adanan said the challenge was converting those who continue to practice the harmful habit even when the risks were scientifically proven.

"Even more disappointing is when the smoker still does this even when it also affects those exposed to the smoke especially family members and society."

The minister's concern was all too true because second-hand smokers were even prone to cardiovascular and respiratory disease, coronary disease and lung cancer.

"Just realise that an estimated 70 per cent of Adenorcarcinoma cancer patients in the country were actually made up of those who do not smoke! "

"Even when they do not smoke, most were exposed to long periods of exposure to smokers believed to be close family members."

YB Pehin Dato Hj Adanan called for members of the public to realise the hazardous threat and unite under it.

"In recognising the risk posed by tobacco use in conjunction with WNTD 2014, let us, as one nation, work together relentlessly continue to combat tobacco use in the country."

"Awareness is vital for adults but it is even more so imperative to the younger generation."

"Because we do not want our national assets plagued by a smoker's habit as it is detrimental to their quality of life as is for those around them."

The minister in his message for WNTD 2014 advised smokers who ignite, inhale and exhale the cigarettes to stop now - before it's too late.

"Do it not just for your protection but to shield the health and well-being of your family and the society."

The minister, enforcing the support of his ministry, said that it will remain steadfast to provide assistance on smoking cessation services clinically.

The minister also hopes and reminds the community that they play a critical role in the fight against these so-called life reducers.

"And this can be done by reporting to the authorities on any illegal and unwanted smuggling of tobacco products," the minister said.

This cooperation includes the commitment from all stakeholders, whether in government agencies, private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and all levels of society.

"Let us cast our shields to protect the health and well-being of ourselves, family, community, our beloved Brunei Darussalam towards a life with endless prosperity and quality health and contribute to the nation's socio-economic development," the minister said.

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