Second hand smoking deadly
Second hand smoking, also known as passive smoking, is an extremely serious issue in Samoa.
It is among a number of issues the Samoa Cancer Society (SCS) is working with the Government to address through the Tobacco Control Amendment Act 2018.
Passive smoking is the inhalation of smoke by persons other than the intended active smoker.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, SCS Chief Executive Officer, Shelley Burich, said the challenge remains a constant one especially in many public places where people should not be exposed to smoke.
“I think that in the last few years I have seen that the citizens and community have been relaxing with the tobacco law,’ Ms. Burich said.
She explained the health issue for second hand smoking in public areas. Even if a person doesn’t smoke, being exposed to fumes from a cigarette product has the potential to increase the risks of cancer, respiratory issues and death.
She pointed out that one cigarette contains at least 4,000 toxins.
“People just go out smoking in public places and around other people. That goes to say that, one, they do not know what the law is meaning there is not enough education and, two, they are blatantly ignoring it, not wanting to adhere to the law.”
Ms. Burich said the Samoa Cancer Society is working with the Government and the Ministry of Health increased awareness about tobacco law and health effects to the public.
“Tobacco shouldn’t just be the government’s problem. It should also be our responsibility to adhere to the law.”
She explained that the compliance is not only the government but the nation entirely to not only adhere to the law but also enforce it.
“We have rights as citizens to let other people know when they are breaking the law. And if we don’t speak up then we are not doing our duty, we shouldn’t always complain about what the government is not doing but also we have a voice to put our hand up to be responsible.”
Samoa is a member of the Framework Convention to Tobacco Control, and Samoa Cancer Society a Non-Government Organization of Framework Convention Alliance that work hand in hand to monitor and be better advocates of tobacco control.