Dissemination of the results of tobacco surveys by the NGO VISA, the University of Mauritius and the World Health Organization

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The results of two tobacco surveys conducted to explore the compliance of nightclubs with anti-smoking regulations and the availability of electronic cigarettes and waterpipes in Mauritius were disseminated during a half-day workshop held in Quatre Bornes on March 17, 2022. VISA collaborated with the University of Mauritius and the World Health Organization in this research initiative. The Honorary President of VISA, Ms Véronique Leclezio, the President of VISA, Mr Poubarlanaden Appavoo, and Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative launched the reports in the presence of Mr Deowan Mohee, an active member of the Association, Dr Marie Chan Sun, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Mauritius and Dr Balkrish Beedassy, ​​representing the Minister of Health and Welfare.

Dr. B. Beedassy in his speech, recalled “smoking is a major modifiable risk factor for non-communicable diseases” and listed the tobacco control measures successfully implemented in the country to protect the population.

“Tobacco control remains a priority for governments and communities around the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the goal of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by one-third by 2030,” said Dr Beedassy. More intensive action by tobacco control advocates and health organizations is mandated to address more pressing tobacco-related issues, such as underage tobacco use, retail cigarette sticks and in terms of enforcement mechanism to tackle offenders, he added.

Ms. V. Leclezio underlined the need for strict enforcement of tobacco control legislation to protect smokers and non-smokers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. She reminded the representatives of the various ministries and departments present of their role and responsibility in respecting tobacco control legislation. She pointed out that “tobacco is the only consumable product that kills half of its users”.

Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative, congratulated VISA and the University of Mauritius for this laudable initiative and encouraged all local NGOs, universities and civil society to play an active role in promoting health in the country.

The WHO representative said, “There is no doubt that the two studies provide evidence-based information that will help strengthen tobacco control policies in the country.”

“There is scientific evidence that smoking kills not only smokers but also non-smokers who are exposed to tobacco smoke. The results of the first survey show that nightclub compliance has not improved significantly since the last survey conducted in 2013,” Dr Musango said. He added, “We need to strengthen tobacco law enforcement to protect the entire population, including nightclub workers as well as people who visit these places.”

“The results of the second investigation confirm the illegal sale of electronic cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco in Mauritius while the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations 2008 prohibit the importation and sale of tobacco for water pipe and electronic cigarettes.

The prevalence of smoking in Mauritius, especially among young people, is high. Dr. Musango advocated for the implementation of demand reduction and supply reduction measures to achieve a substantial decrease in smoking prevalence.

The country is committed to implementing the recommendations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which it ratified in 2004. The country is known to have implemented strong tobacco control policies. These include several articles of the WHO FCTC, in particular the implementation of large pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs; a ban on smoking in public places, a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and a ban on sales by and to minors as well as the country’s adherence to the protocol to eliminate the trade illicit tobacco products. Recently, a new set of tobacco regulations, including plain packaging regulations, have been developed with the support of WHO. These regulations have been validated by key stakeholders and will soon be implemented.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO) – Mauritius.

This press release was issued by APO. Content is not vetted by the African Business editorial team and none of the content has been verified or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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