GIS – 06 June 2016: ‘Government is committed to implement plain packaging not only because we believe in its effectiveness but we are also sure that the trend worldwide would reduce the number of people getting hooked on smoking. We will adopt all appropriate tobacco strategies to come to grips with the tobacco scourge.’ said the Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Mr Anil Kumarsingh Gayan this morning at Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre Bornes.
The Minister was speaking at the opening of a one-day workshop focusing on strengthening the Mauritius Tobacco Control Policies, organised in the context of a series of activities to mark World No Tobacco Day 2016 (WNTD - http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/en/). WNTD is observed worldwide every year on 31st May. The 2016 theme is Get Ready for Plain Packaging.
In his address, Mr Gayan pointed out that we have to cope with a very strong and innovative tobacco industry which is relentless in its pursuit to expand its market worldwide, particularly in developing countries. ‘Whatever the industry does, we as a Government and you as responsible Mauritians, must all together undo as tobacco in any forms kills’, he stressed.
The Minister dwelt on the measures that have been taken to stand the consumption of tobacco in Mauritius such as the ban on smoking in public places, advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products. Mr Gayan also urged smokers to avail themselves of the seven smoking cessation clinics around the country as smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and death.
Commenting on figures released by the National non-communicable diseases Survey carried out last year, which show that the prevalence of smoking in Mauritius has decreased from 21% in 2009 to 19% in 2015, the Minister said that a drop of 2% in five years is not significant. ‘I only wish that the drop was far bigger and this is why we must gear up the awareness campaigns to make everyday a WNTD’, he said.
Records from the Mauritius Revenue Authority also show that the importation of cigarettes has decreased from one billion three hundred thousand in 2009 to just under one billion in 2015. Nonetheless, this still means that the per capita consumption was 986 cigarettes per Mauritian and it is just so much money that goes up in smoke, the Minister pointed out.
Plain packaging of tobacco products
Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and products names displayed in a standard colour and font style.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), plain packaging is an important demand reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts the use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling and increases the effectiveness of health warnings.
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