Cancer society calls for smoke-free schools

The Samoa Cancer Society (S.C.S) is calling for a stop to the practice of allowing teachers to smoke inside school grounds. 

The society’s Chief Executive Officer, Su'a John Ryan, told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview that teachers have a huge influence on young people's minds.

Su'a stated that for a teacher to be smoking on school grounds is a failure of their duty as a mentor.

"And for their personal health they shouldn’t be smoking at all," Su'a said.

The C.E.O. noted that certain industrial laws prohibit smoking in the workplace.

Su'a called on all education providers to create a smoke-free environment for young students.

He also encouraged schools’ management to remind their staff about keeping up no-smoking signs and to continue to remind students of the dangers of smoking.

He said the S.C.S. is on hand to run an awareness campaign for any willing institution and to educate its staff on the Tobacco Control Act.

The Principal of Vaimauga College, Faumuina Tovio Taefu, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that smoking is prohibited on campus.

“This campus is free of tobacco and alcohol,” he said.

Faumuina said that the staff is already aware of restrictions in place.

When asked if there have been reports of any teachers smoking on campus he said:

"Yes, and whoever [is] caught doing that will face the consequences,” he said. 

“I [have] already given them the warning."

Before the Samoa Observer had entered the office, a teacher was spotted smoking near the Principal's office.

The Principal was surprised when informed about the situation and he said that he will warn the teacher.

Faumuina explained that there are no smoking signs on campus and he had put two signs up last week to remind people to refrain from smoking. 

He said the school’s ethical code forbids smoking inside the campus.

“Their right to smoke is respected, but the decision that they make not to smoke is appreciated, and that's the message for everyone,” he said.

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C) has been contacted for a comment.

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