By SHANI WILLIAMS
Last Friday (April 25), the Minister of Health, unhealthy Dr. Neil Sharma, officially launched the smoke-free Suva City initiative.
Smoke-free Suva City is a collaborated initiative by the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Suva City Council.
This is an effort to positively contribute towards the betterment of the lifestyle of all city dwellers and safeguard the population from Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), says Suva Special Administrator, Mr Chandu Umaria.
This initiative includes an extension of Suvas smoke-free zones, including: the Suva municipal market, bus station, healthy walkways and Council buildings.
Globally, tobacco smoking is the leading cause of ill health. The smoke-free Suva City initiative will definitely improve Fijis overall health status, says Dr Neil Sharma.
I am sure that declaring a smoke-free Suva City is the first step in an eventually declaring a smoke-free Fiji and hopefully, one day, a smoke-free Pacific region, adds Dr Sharma.
This initiative is the first phase of the stakeholders collaboration. In phase two, smoking booths will be installed in selected areas and smoke-free zones will progress to eventually cover the whole CBD.
This launch marks another milestone in embracing Fijis healthy island vision.
Commencing today (April 28), Fiji will host the regional conference for Asia and the Pacific WHO framework convention on Tobacco Control.
Fiji was the first developing country and the third country worldwide to ratify the Public Health Treaty on the 3rd of October 2003.