The Ministry of Health & Medical Services (MHMS) and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) recently carried out a joint operation from 23rd – 25th May 2016, in an effort to advocate “NO SMOKING” in public vehicles and other public places.
Honiara City Council (HCC) Health Promotion, National Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) teams, together with Royal Solomon Islands Police representatives and HCC Law Enforcement officers, have undertaken no smoking awareness activities within the HCC boundary.
Awareness activities targeted street vendors, and shop and canteen owners with the message that the selling of single rolls is illegal and that it has to be stopped. Legal public notices were distributed to all shops from White River to the KG6 area advising shop keepers of the law, while stickers were distributed to the drivers of taxis, buses and other public vehicles.
‘It is against the law to sell tobacco to anyone less than 18 years of age, to sell tobacco in broken or opened packages or to sell and distribute tobacco products without a license,’ said Dr Geoff Kenilorea, Director, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Department, MHMS.
Part 5 of the Tobacco Control Act was also highlighted. It states that it is illegal to smoke in workplaces, schools, hospitals, health clinics and public transport, such as buses, taxis and pick-up trucks.
Mr. Oliver Oli, Chief Health Promotion Officer, HCC said, ‘The HCC health promotion staff have been advocating against smoking at the Main Honiara Central market area twice a day since Monday 23rd May as part of the World No Tobacco Day 2016 pre-campaign.’
Passive or second-hand smoking has contributed a lot to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, stroke, heart diseases, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), which are increasing in Solomon Islands. In 2011, Pacific Health Ministers declared the Pacific Islands to be in an NCD crisis.
Passive or second-hand smoking is when other people breathe in smokers’ tobacco smoke. Inhaling even small amounts of tobacco smoke can cause respiratory and ear infections in children and heart attack and stroke in adults.
‘This World No Tobacco Day, MHMS, in joining WHO to support the global theme Get Ready for Plain Packaging, is also calling on all stakeholders and sections of the community to work together to stop second-hand smoking and protect the health and livelihoods of our people, especially women and children,’ said Dr Kenilorea.
Dr. Kenilorea added, ‘ensuring people don’t smoke at health facilities, work places, schools and in public transport will enhance the health of all, especially non-smoking victims who breathe in smoke from nearby smokers. Further awareness activities will be carried out in schools and the provinces before enforcement of the law takes place,” he said.