An appeal has been made to students of Vieux Fort and environs to beware of the deadly effects of tobacco smoking.
The advice came from Dr. Shana Cyr of the Ministry of Health and Wellness at a rally to commemorate “World No Tobacco Day” which was held at the Vieux Fort Public Square last Friday.
“If you smoke stop it, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start…” Dr. Cyr admonished the students.
The event, which generated much excitement among the students, was organized by the Department of Health and Wellness (Substance Abuse Unit). It also included a march in the community, where participants displayed placards highlighting the dangers of tobacco smoking and urged persons to desist from such harmful social habits.
“Tobacco smoking is the main cause of lung cancer. It causes every cancer we can think of or come across,” Dr. Cry said, adding that it also causes cancer in persons who do not smoke but are exposed to smoke.
She made a special appeal to young people to make every day a “No Tobacco Day” and avoid the temptation of smoking.
“Too many young men and young women smoke too early, smoke too much, and mix cigarettes with marijuana, which can cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (CODP), Dr. Cyr said.
She highlighted the effects second-hand smoking had on the unborn child. “The smoke passes on to the unborn child through the mother’s uterus, which results in the child’s lungs not being developed properly,” Dr. Cyr explained.
Dr. Cyr noted that research has shown that “children who smoke without smoking” (smoke inhaled involuntary from tobacco being smoked by others) tend to develop pneumonia and asthma.
“Too many children like you here today are inhaling cigarette smoke…” she lamented, urging persons who smoked to try to avoid being around people while smoking.
She recounted testimonies of smokers, whose lives went to waste, adding that there is a lesson to be learnt from them.
The ceremony also included various presentations from students and organizations, and other activities which had the students doing simple exercises under the instruction of the President of the Saint Lucia Diabetic and Hypertension Association.
It was clear by the end of the event that the students had enjoyed themselves immensely, and were prepared to share what they had learnt.
“The event was very enjoyable and informative,” a beaming student told The VOICE.