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Oct 20, 2010

Ministry of Health plans to smoke out tobacco related diseases

According to statistics, as many as thirty-seven percent of deaths in Belize are linked to tobacco related diseases. Earlier today an initiative was launched to prohibit smoking in public places, including government buildings and schools and certain private businesses. The measure will protect the public from exposure to tobacco smoke. The Ministry of Health, through the National Drug Abuse Control Council is working along with the Pan American Health Organization on the new initiative. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

The Ministry of Health, through NDACC, is on a joint mission with PAHO to clear the air. They took a big step forward today with the launch of the Tobacco Free Space initiative. Minister of Health, Pablo Marin outlines the terms of the program.

pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“The prohibition of smoking within Government Buildings; the prohibition of smoking in private business where the public accesses services, for example: Lobbies of Banks, hotels. Restaurants must indicate ‘Smoking’ and ‘No Smoking’ areas; the prohibition of smoking in all Primary, Secondary and Tertiary learning institutions, whether public, church-state or privately managed; the prohibition of smoking in public transportation, including all Terminals; public display of ‘No Smoking Signs’ in areas where smoking is prohibited; public awareness and education activities to promote this initiative.”

The project falls under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Belize signed on to in 2003 then ratified in 2005. Cabinet recently approved Article Eight of the convention, which protects the public from exposure to tobacco smoke.

Dr. Jorge Polanco, Deputy Director for Health Services, MOH

dr. jorge polanco

“Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, an acronym that is worldwide known as F.C.T.C., is the first global public health treaty that was negotiated under the World Health Organization and its member states.”

lorraine thompson

Lorraine Thompson, Technical Advisor, PAHO

“It looks at complex issues such as the movement of tobacco products across borders, contraband, the sale of tobacco to minors, advertising and sponsorship.”

Dr. Jorge Polanco

“In order to fulfill the obligations that Belize had signed on to this treaty, Belize developed a national tobacco control plan from 2007 to 2012, which means that part of the plan is already in implementation.”

The audience at today’s launch was mostly made up of primary school children and they were given an eye opener of some startling details about how serious the tobacco problem is in Belize and the world.

esner vellos

Esner Vellos, Director, Natl Drug Abuse Control Council

“The World Health Organization has recognized that tobacco consumption is responsible for more deaths than the dreaded AIDS disease and have estimated that unless tobacco consumption patterns change by the year 2030, ten million persons will die annually from the effects of tobacco consumption.”

Lorraine Thompson

“Tobacco does not just harm the smoker. It is well established that exposure to second hand smoke causes serious disease and death in none smoking children and adults. In Belize we estimate that thirty-seven percent of deaths each year is directly from cancers and other tobacco related diseases.”

Dr. Jorge Polanco

“In 2008, which was the second to last survey, which was a national survey done among students, twenty percent of the students surveyed had used some form of tobacco. Eight percent of the students were smokers. Twenty-five percent of students lived in homes where other people smoke.”

A Tobacco-Sensitization Fair for the students followed the launch. And while they took in a wealth of information, the lesson for the day is that we all have the right to breathe clean air. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The ministry’s next anti-tobacco initiative is the Belize Youth Advocacy for Smoke Free Schools.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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17 Responses for “Ministry of Health plans to smoke out tobacco related diseases”

  1. Non Smoker says:

    I am a non smoker but this ting stupid.
    Let the smoker smoke and lets keep Belize like Belize.
    This government is trying to turn us into the USA or Canada.
    This is Belize, Land of the Free.
    Let us be free to smoke or drink where and when we want.
    Government PLEASE spend your time and our money more wisely like STOPPING THE CRIME.

  2. Earl Grey says:

    EF……… Tobacco control………………. WE NEED GUN CONTROL!!!

  3. Charles Green says:

    About time too! we are so far behind the rest of the world. In Canada you can’t smoke at home if you are renting and don’t own the property.
    Are we also going to stop the advertising by CTC on TV and in newspapers and them sponsoring sporting events.
    Next on the Department of Health Services lists to make Belize a healthier and better place must be obesity

  4. Airdan says:

    Another globalization effect. Why do we have to follow everything that damn country does. Can’t we think for ourselves? Also, that thirty-seven percent rate is quite questionable. These health officials manipulate the statistics every time they want to promote their agenda. Diabetes this percent, AIDS this percent, heart disease this percent, blah blah blah.

    We don’t have to accept everything with our eyes closed. Stop being hypocrites and end this Americanization.

  5. San Ignacio says:

    this is good news, cause at the school i attend there are some teachers that smoke before entering class or every other second they are not doing nothing. please come and check the school and you will notice that there are lots of cigarette filters … thanks, hope it happen fast cause its annoying..

  6. Skywalker says:

    I say good riddance. It is not JUST the USA that has regulations like this. Almost every other country in the world does. Cigarettes are awful things, and it is beyond me, why after about 20 years of aggressive anti-smoking campaigns, people still want to smoke. I say take out cigarettes and bring in marijuana!

  7. EL CHE says:

    I dont smoke,and i am not against smokers,but hell,if you want to poison your self and DIE slowly by it,but dont smoke near other who dont smoke,dont smoke near children,or in places where people who dont smoke are present,its a beautifull law,how can you be living here in the USA,and be against it?we eher in the USA are a civilized society,the rest of the world has not catch it fact,belize would be heaven if they had the system we have here in the USA,pup&udp dont want it,this system would send them to jail,i am a belizean by the way,

  8. EL CHE says:

    Airdan,nothing wrong with copying the american system.the smoking laws have nothing to do with been and american law,its about the health of children,and others who dont smoke,like you say”think for yourself”and for others.

  9. guendi says:

    ummmmm….. all u ppl are about politics n bla bla bla bla. Look atleast the government is trying to do something for the future, for kids not to smoke and die faster. We need to remember that the goverment doesnt have the power to stop crime if police, killers are not willing to stop corrupting the country. Every freaking country in the world has crime, every freaking country has everything we have. I support this campaign due to the fact that 2 family members died for smoking. Even if it sounds stupid as a belizean i want a better Belize and only the kids and new borns can make a change at this point. So lets support it. I am just 19 years old and i believe that drugs can change a persons view leading to killing and etc.. So VIVA belize and Lets support causes that are wiling to make a change!

  10. Reuben M. says:

    This is long overdue, second hand smoke is deadly to every none smoker especially when smoking in the home where kids are.

  11. Earl Grey says:

    NEXT THEY WILL TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN EAT… AND DRINK ….AND WEAR……… and WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN’T SAY…………Where will it end????????????????

    It’s just another form or SOCIAL CONTROL.

  12. Global Perspective says:


    The smoking ban is long overdue in Belize. All Industrialised countries in the UK, USA, and Europe have adopted this policy for a number of years as a matter of public health. Smoking has long been linked to all the different forms of cancers esp lung cancer, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, increase risk of heart disease eg high Blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and even exposing the rest of your family to second hand smoking puts them at risk. Need I say more.

    So if you feel that KHMH can look after you should you be in the unfortunate position of developing any of these conditions, then go ahead and smoke to your heart content (pardon the pun) just not around anyone else. Besides you probably smell like an ashtray, you know what I mean?

  13. vivian says:

    Try to do a little good in the world and you just cant please people they always find something to complain about. I have nothing against smokers they have the free will to do whatever they please just have repect for those that dont share the same interest as they do. i am a belizean living in another country and have whitness the action of this law is being heavily enforced, little by little we are making a difference and saving unnecessary deaths.

  14. Sam Browne says:

    I do not smoke anymore, however there is a real disconnect here. Traffic accidents, diabetes, obesity are probably bigger killers than tobacco. The exorbitant taxes raised on tobacco should go straight to the health services to reduce deaths before we remove a source of taxation entirely.

  15. Also Concerned says:

    Great move. I hope it is enforced. What’s wrong with following good moves from other countries?

  16. Jac says:

    Finally the ministry of Health is doing something worthwhile !! there are even more issues that need to be address , its time for Belize to grow and develop ,, Good initiative !! non smokers don’t have the need to inhale others smoke!!!

  17. josh says:

    mr government… look… we have more things to worry about.. waht di hell are you doing to stop crime? killing? more ppl are dying every day inocentlty.. dat is what we should try and stop.. smoking is a good idea.. but stop ignoring di fact dat crime rate here in bze is far more important.. we are loosing out tourist because of crime…. a vast majority of our tourist smokes…. smoking is bad,,, good idea to try and stop it but lets look at a more wider thing to worry abou.. BESIDES.. EVERYTHING I LOVE IS KILLING ME.. CIGGARETS, JACK DANIELS AND CAFFIEN……

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