Timor-Leste is marking World No Tobacco Day for the first time with a march up Comoro Road encouraging businesses and workplaces to become smoke-free.
The World Health Organisation and the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health have joined forces with Cruz Vermelha de Timor-Leste, ADRA and Child Fund to promote the dangers of smoking.
“We are getting together to spread the message that smoking kills. Stop smoking and you can save your life as well as others who breath in your smoke,” xx from CVTL said.
Worldwide, tobacco kills 6 million people every year through cancer, heart disease, respiratory diseases and childhood diseases.
In Timor-Leste men are the biggest smokers.
It is estimated, 66% of men smoke cigarettes and 25% use another kind of tobacco. (Timor-Leste Demographic Health Survey 2009-10).
This is one of the highest smoking rates in Southeast Asia and is having a huge impact on the health of Timorese people.
Smoking is also an expensive habit.
A person who smokes a pack of cigarettes each day will spend $30 per month.
This is a big financial burden on people in a poor country.
That money could instead buy almost 3 sacks of rice or 1 box of cooking oil.
“It is never too late to stop smoking. It will make you healthier, help you live longer and save you money,” xxx from IFRC said.
Smoking or passive smoking (breathing in someone else’s smoke) is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their babies.
Passive smoking is as bad as smoking yourself and can cause cancer.
It is also very dangerous for your children.
Children with parents who smoke are at greater risk of problems with their lungs because of the second-hand smoke they are breathing in at home.
Making workplaces and shopping areas smoke-free is an important first step in reducing smoking in Timor-Leste.
“Timor Plaza is leading the way by banning smoking inside its building. That is why they are hosting our event. Other businesses should think about the health of their customers and their staff and consider making their buildings smoke-free,” Luc xx from ADRA said.
By Emilio Dos Santos
CVTL Media Officer