Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tobacco-growing Cuba marks World No Tobacco Day

Despite its world-famous tobacco crop, Cuba on Wednesday celebrated World No Tobacco Day with zeal, launching anti-smoking campaigns in the media, at schools and in healthcare centers.


"Statistics show that 54 percent of Cuban families, 55 percent of children, 51 percent of pregnant women and 60 percent of adolescents are exposed to this polluting agent. These figures rank us as the Latin American country with the highest exposure to tobacco smoke in the home," the daily Granma cited Elba Lorenzo Vazquez, national coordinator of the state anti-smoking program, as saying at a press conference.

Cuba has Latin America's third highest rate of smokers, with some 24 percent of the population smoking.

The anti-smoking campaign is directed mainly at young Cubans, hoping to prevent them from picking up the habit in the first place, though the government is also promoting programs to help those addicted to tobacco quit smoking.

Laws that restrict smoking have been around in Cuba since the early 1970s. In 1974, the government banned smoking in government offices and institutions, and in 1986, the ban was expanded to other areas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared May 31st World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, which can lead to lung cancer, respiratory diseases and other ailments.

Half of all smokers die prematurely, according to the WHO.

Under the banner "Tobacco -- a threat to development," the WHO released a video that warns "tobacco endangers our health, economies and environment and undermines our effort to build ... a more prosperous world for all."
  [globaltimes.cn/Xinhua]
1/6/17

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