Sierra Leone: FCTC ratification
Sierra Leone became the 165th party to ratify (by accession) the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on 22 May 2009. The FCTC provides an internationally coordinated response to addressing the tobacco epidemic.
WHO FCTC country list: http://www.who.int/fctc/signatories_parties
Date Posted: 22 June 2009
Health Ministry's thumbs up to nicotine tests for youth Such a programme should be extended to all schools, Liow says
Thursday, June 25th, 2009 07:44:00
GOOD MOVE: Liow hopes nicotine tests will stem smoking in schools
HEALTH Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai gave the thumbs-up to the introduction of nicotine tests in sports schools by the National Sports Institute (NSI). Responding to Malay Mail's front page story yesterday, Liow said it was a good move to get youths off smoking. He went on to say such a programme should be introduced in all schools in the country.
The NSI plans to start its pilot project at the Bukit Jalil Sports School - pending clearance from the respective authorities. They also plan to introduce such a programme at the Bandar Penawar Sports School in a bid to educate young athletes on the implications of smoking.
"I don't see any reason why such tests cannot be done in public schools," said Liow. "I'm really happy to hear that the NSI is implementing such measures. Smoking is definitely harmful especially to the younger generation. We hope through efforts like these, and those carried out by the Health Ministry, we will be able to stem this problem." Smoking causes cardiovascular and cancer-related illnesses. It is also a contributing factor to the low fitness levels recorded by some of the national athletes, especially in team sports.
The government signed the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in September 2005. The treaty agrees to prohibit tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship over various media.
Article 16(3) of the FCTC reads; "Each party shall endeavour to prohibit the sale of cigarettes individually or in small packets which increase the affordability of such products to minors."
Also, the Food Act 1983 specifies that cigarettes must be sold in unopened packets containing at least 20 cigarettes.
Nevertheless, Liow is aware petty traders and some restaurants sell individual sticks especially to minors below 18. "They cannot sell individual sticks as it is wrong under the law."
He added: "We are in the midst of introducing more measures to reduce the accessibility of children to tobacco. Please alert us of such unethical actions and we will punish the culprits."
While the RM100 million "Tak Nak" anti-smoking campaign failed, it has not deterred the government from introducing new measures to contain the smoking menace, especially among the youths.
Among the steps taken include introducing smoke-free zones in public areas, gruesome pictures on cigarette boxes and amending the Control of Tobacco Product Regulations in 2008.
Each year, some 10,000 Malaysians die from smoking-related ailments Smoking is expected to kill 6.5 million people worldwide in 2015.