Mamelodi residents march to create awareness about dangers of smoking tobacco
A march was held in Mamelodi as part of the #SwitchOffTobacco campaign. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Mamelodi residents march to create awareness about dangers of smoking tobacco By James Mahlokwane Nov 2, 2021 Pretoria - Mamelodi residents took to the streets on Saturday to create awareness about the dangers of smoking tobacco. A group of health professionals and social activists joined forces with young people to participate in the #SwitchOffTobacco initiative. They marched from Stanza Bopape Clinic to the sports complex. Community leaders, school principals and the Department of Environmental Health partnered with Protect Our Next, a partnership of health organisations, to collect tobacco litter during the march. The litter will be used by learners from Mamelodi schools to create education murals. Deputy director for the National Council Against Smoking, Sharon Nyatsanza, said the march was part of a new initiative to #SwitchoffTobacco in Mamelodi. MORE ON THIS
“Active, educated communities are vitally important in the fight against tobacco. Everyone can help by educating themselves and others about the risks. It’s time to take back our health from big tobacco bullies,” she said. “Tobacco use is still too high in South Africa. About 1 in 5 adults smoke, and this has a major impact on the health of communities and strains our health system. “More than 80% of smokers smoked their first cigarette in their teens, and most smokers wish they had never started. It’s clear that tobacco companies are active in the townships, targeting these markets. Communities like Mamelodi, a buzzing hot spot with an influx of people, need to protect themselves from tobacco industry manipulation and send a clear message that they will be tobacco-free. It’s up to communities to get involved and take action,” said Nyatsanza. She said passing the proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Services Bill into law is a vital part of better protecting communities. “The new bill requires that any indoor public place is 100% smoke-free and will make certain outdoor public places smoke-free too. It will further ban smoking in private dwellings used for commercial child care and educational activities and in cars carrying children under 18. Cigarette advertising at tills and the sale of cigarettes through vending machines, which is a channel for young people to access cigarettes, would also be prohibited if this bill is passed into law.” More importantly, the new bill seeks to regulate e-cigarettes and vape products. ADVERTISING Dr Catherine Egbe of the South African Medical Research Council said: “Our legislation predates e-cigarettes, and manufacturers have used the legislative vacuum to promote these devices and appeal to youth, including marketing e-liquids which come in a number of flavours to make them more appealing to young people. “We must close the legislative gap and prevent a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.” The Protect Our Next team aims to roll out similar education and awareness initiatives in other communities across South Africa. Pretoria News.