Tobacco kills one person every 10 seconds


Saturday, June 5, 2010

EVERY 10 seconds, one person dies in the world from the use of tobacco, the Friday sermon warned Bruneians yesterday, as it highlighted the dangers of smoking in conjunction with the World No Tobacco Day which fell on Monday.

"Let World No Tobacco Day be a reminder of the bad habit of smoking, and let us take steps together to fight it," said the sermon, reminding Muslims in the country that the risks of tobacco products were not minor but could cause death, not only to the smoker but to others around them.

The sermon lamented that even though people knew full well the stark dangers of smoking, they just brush it aside as they continue using tobacco.

"The teachings of Islam remind its followers not to do anything that can bring about harm to their minds and bodies, and Islam forbids all food and drink that destroy and harm oneself, such as alcohol, pork, illegal use of drugs and cigarettes."

The sermon said that smoking or the use of tobacco products is one of the causes of diseases, such as cancer and diseases of the lungs and heart. It pointed to studies which have shown that the use of tobacco is the cause behind the deaths of four million people every year worldwide.

It added that because of the danger posed by tobacco, many countries including Brunei have laws to control the supply, sale, use and advertising of tobacco products.

The sermon emphasised the ban on smoking in public places, such as school and hospitals.

"This is to protect the public who are present in these areas from being exposed to cigarette smoke, apart from making sure our air is clean and nice to breathe for all."

Under the 2005 Tobacco Order, anyone caught smoking in a public place can be fined up to $10,000. Those selling tobacco products without a licence can be fined $10,000, and those selling products without the health warning can be fined up to $20,000 and imprisoned.

"A maximum fine of $10,000 can be imposed on those who sell tobacco products to those under the age of 18," said the sermon.

"This is appropriate because the youth and children are the generation that will continue our efforts to develop and make our country prosperous."

The sermon also warned against the sale of tobacco replacement devices such as "electronic cigarettes".

It said that while these products are better for one's health, their sale in Brunei is prohibited because it is an imitation of a tobacco product and a fine of $10,000 can be imposed if one is caught.

"If we take care of our health, Insya Allah we can avoid suffering from chronic illnesses and we can save money for the country," said the sermon.

"In 2008, the government spent $20.7 million on healthcare. About 51 per cent of that was spent for the treatment of illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. This does not take into account treatment for other ailments."

The sermon advised that in the effort to take care of one's health, we should take measures to avoid these diseases.

The Brunei Times

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