Friday, September 25, 2020

“World No Tobacco Day” was observed today among the Ministry of Health, Bhutan Narcotics Control Agency, Ministry Of Education, and World Health Organization (WHO) with the global theme “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use”.
Observing this day is a good opportunity for us to not just create awareness to those who are already into tobacco use or are willing to quit but also to reach out to those who haven’t even started.
H.E Health Minister emphasized that you have to be the change you want to see. She also asked if is tobacco a taboo? Do we ever discuss Tobacco at home?” indicating that we do not talk about tobacco with our children or family members at home. If we start talking about these issues, the youth or the affected ones can express or open up about the pressure they are going through be it from their peer or even through industrial promotions.
We can’t wait for the industries to change; so our new strategies should be:
1. Empowering the people to make the right choices and all stakeholders pay a critical role in this. People and industries are taking leverage of the current COVID-19 situation to promote products that have adverse effect on people’s health.
2. Create enabling environment instead of stringent measures. Dependencies to such substances are compromising the country’s efforts to manage the current situation.
Although there is no evidence that the industries have influenced the spread of hoaxes that tobacco helps prevent COVID-19, WHO has however clarified that smokers are more at risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing complications or severe disease progression.
During this pandemic, it is a good reminder to all stakeholders of tobacco control that there has never been a more appropriate time to support our citizens in their efforts to quit tobacco use. We also need to protect, to the extent possible, the advances we have made in tobacco control even in difficult times such as this.
Two books were launch today, one a report on the Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2019 and other “The Big Ban” a book that depicts Bhutan’s journey towards a tobacco-free society.

Message from Hon’ble Minister
Bhutan GYTS 2019 Factsheet
WNTD Resources