YANG BERHORMAT DATO SERI SETIA DR HAJI ZULKARNAIN BIN HAJI HANAFI
MINISTER OF HEALTH
ON THE OCCASION OF WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY
31ST MAY 2017
THEME: "TOBACCO – A THREAT TO DEVELOPMENT"
1. A recent survey showed that 97% of adults know that smoking causes serious illnesses. Despite this, 20% of the adult population and 11% of youth population continue to smoke. Today, we call for a movement to translate this knowledge to a genuine change in behavior.
2. Each and every person has their own roles and responsibilities in the war against tobacco, and working together, we will create a tobacco-free Brunei. Those of us who do not smoke can commit to never take up tobacco products. Those who do use tobacco can seek help in quitting the habit and making the right choice for their health.
3. If we stop smoking today, by next week, our blood pressure will improve. Within several months, we will experience significant improvements in lung function. This time next year, our risk of heart disease and heart attack is halved. Refusing to start smoking, or stopping smoking is one important step we can take to protect the health and wellbeing of ourselves, our families and those around us.
4. Quitting smoking can be difficult for many people and the Ministry of Health will provide every assistance in supporting those individuals who are trying to stop smoking. If you are currently a smoker, quitting is the single best decision you can make. Participating and completing a professional smoking cessation programme can more than double the chance of a smoker to quit smoking. If you or someone you know is thinking about stopping smoking, do not hesitate to call 123 today to find out where your nearest smoking cessation clinic is.
5. On 31 May, Brunei Darussalam joins the global community to mark World No Tobacco Day. This year's theme is 'Tobacco – a threat to development'. This highlights tobacco use as a threat to individuals, families and communities and the real human cost it brings in terms of suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and Brunei's own socio-economic development. Money not spent on tobacco can be, in turn, used for other essential uses, including the purchase of healthy food and education.
6. The Tobacco Order 2005 provides a national focus for our country's action against tobacco. This includes restrictions on the importation, sale and distribution of tobacco products. As of today, there are no longer any licensed tobacco retailers. Despite this, tobacco products are still sold illegally in the black market. This poses a serious threat to our society and the whole community needs to take action to ensure that as a society, the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our children remains a top priority.
7. The issues surrounding stopping smoking are particularly well-aligned with the Ministry of Health strategic priorities which are to drive the 'Health is everyone's business agenda', enhance the quality of service delivery through alignment and consolidation, and prevent and control non-communicable diseases.
8. In conclusion, on this World No Tobacco Day, let us reflect on how all of us – as a collective and as individuals – can do our part to reduce the threat of tobacco towards our development. Living in a tobacco-free Brunei needs every one of us to play our part. Let us not miss this opportunity to do something positive today for ourselves and our families.
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