Macau residents smoking less: SSM

2023-06-01 03:26     BY Ginnie Liang    Comment:0

Yesterday was World No Tobacco Day, and the Health Bureau (SSM) held a seminar entitled “2023 Tobacco Control Seminar” to review Macau’s work on tobacco control, with Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long noting that the population’s cigarette use in Macau had decreased from 16.6 percent to 10.6 percent from 2011 to 2022, a relative decrease of 36.1 percent.

Dr Lo made the remarks during the seminar, which was held at the Health Bureau and attended by officials from the Tobacco Prevention and Control Office under the Health Bureau, other government officials, and representatives from local tobacco control groups, adding that Macau has already, i.e., earlier than scheduled, passed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of a relative reduction in tobacco use by 30 percent by 2025 compared to 2010.

The WHO established World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable deaths and diseases it causes.

According to the findings of a local survey on youth e-cigarette use in 2021, e-cigarette use among secondary school students aged 13 to 15 rose from 2.6 percent in 2015 to 4.0 percent in 2021, 2.1 percent higher than the use of traditional tobacco products, indicating that teenagers’ use of e-cigarettes is on the rise and significantly higher than those smoking traditional cigarettes.

The Legislative Assembly (AL) passed a government-initiated bill to amend the Tobacco Prevention and Control Law last year, banning all legal channels for e-cigarettes to enter Macau, with a view to eliminating the circulation of new tobacco products in the local community and protecting the next generation from the harmful effects of new tobacco products.

Dr Lo underlined that the government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy and is committed to implementing various tobacco control policies and measures through legislation, law enforcement, education and public awareness campaigns, as well as encouraging people to stop smoking, and working with various sectors of the community to promote a smoke-free environment in Macau, including a recent series of activities where the bureau sets up booths in different locations in the city to answer residents questions about smoking, offering nicotine dependence tests and blood pressure measurements for those who plan to quit smoking, and promoting smoking cessation clinic services.

Dr Lo stressed that smoking can cause many systemic diseases, including cancer as well as respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune system, skin diseases and eye diseases, adding that second-hand and third-hand smoke can also harm family members and friends.

He also urged smokers to quit smoking as soon as possible for their own health. Anyone wishing to quit smoking can contact health care staff at the local health centres for more information.

Health Bureau (SSM) Director Alvis Lo Iek Long addresses yesterday’s “2023 Tobacco Control Seminar”.
– Photo by GCS

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