The Sugar City of Lautoka was today declared a smoke free zone by the Assistant Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon. Veena Bhatnagar.
In declaring the City smoke free, Hon. Bhatnagar said the Ministry was grateful to the Lautoka City council which partnered with the Ministry of the Health in trying to promote healthy living.
“It is a great matter of concern to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services because if young people start smoking at a very young age, chances are that they will not be able to quit or give up smoking easily due to the onset of addiction to nicotine increasing the risk of smoking-related diseases and eventual death,” she said.
“Government remains committed to improving the lives of our people, and the ministry has established Smoking Cessation Training for medical staff through NCD toolkit trainings and Packet of Essential Non-Communicable Diseases (PEN) trainings and I am proud that the Lautoka City Council has taken this challenge in launching initiatives in tobacco control efforts to achieve a tobacco free status for the City.”
Lautoka City council chief executive officer Mr Jone Nakauvadra says the council will strictly monitor non – smoking areas which include the bus stand, market, restaurants, sporting facilities and the streets within the city.
“We can and should get together to create more awareness about the dangers of smoking,” Mr Nakauvadra said.
Over the years, seven villages have been declared Smoke free with Cuvu Village in Nadroga being the latest to be declared while 42 villages have declared Tobacco Free community Halls.
The city of Lautoka joins Suva and Nadi in the banning of smoking in public places.