Sunday, May 31, 2009

Implement work place policy on smoking

By ELIZABETH MIAE in The National


THE PNG Medical Society (PNGMS) has called on Government and private institutions to implement the tobacco legislation into work place policies at their work places.

PNGMS president Dr Mathias Sapuri said the tobacco legislation was already in place but was not being enforced because many institutions were not taking it seriously.

He urged the Health Department to revive the legislation and tighten it up to give the department power to penalise people who smoke in smoke-free zones.

Dr Sapuri’s comments were timely as PNG observes the World No Tobacco Day today with the theme “Tobacco Health Warnings”.

“We need to have a penalty that is instituted by a legislation.

“It is our responsibility, as the medical society, to advise the public that smoking causes cancer.

“The more you smoke, the more you damage your lungs,” Dr Sapuri stressed.

He said all health facilities and public places (including work places) should be free from smoking and the chewing of betelnut.

Dr Sapuri added that places such as restaurants, pubs and night clubs could create a smoke room or corridor where smokers could go to smoke as being done in Asia, Europe and America.

“It is entirely up to pubs to impose a ban on smoking but some people may argue that it is discriminatory.

“But passive smoking is more dangerous because the non-smoker is inhaling more smoke than the smoker who is blowing it out,” he said.

Dr Sapuri also called on parents to be responsible and not send their children to buy cigarettes and betelnut for them because that was where they picked up the bad habits.

He highlighted that as one of the biggest problems in the country where children were being educated “indirectly” by parents on how to smoke and chew.

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated annually on May 31.


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