Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Imams sound urgent call to curb tobacco use

Imams yesterday highlighted the alarming impact of smoking on public health and implications of tobacco consumption, linking it to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and chronic respiratory conditions.

According to the Ministry of Health, these diseases collectively account for the highest causes of death in the country, with lung cancer topping the list as the most prevalent form of cancer, largely attributed to smoking.

Citing global statistics, the ministry emphasised that tobacco use is responsible for over eight million deaths annually, with 1.2 million lives lost due to the exposure to cigarette smoke.

Despite Brunei not being a tobacco producer, the demand for tobacco products, particularly cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, remains high.

The World Health Organization’s STEPwise approach to non-communicable diseases (STEPS NCD) in 2016 revealed that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 individuals, accounting for 19 per cent of the population aged between 18 and 69, are smokers.

Furthermore, the Global School Health Survey of 2019 found that 9.8 per cent of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 are smokers, while 13.3 per cent of individuals aged 13 to 15 use electronic cigarettes.

Imams reiterated the significance of preserving life, asserting that it is one of the five fundamental principles in achieving Maslahat, which encompasses public interests in this world and the hereafter.

The dangers of smoking extend beyond the individual smoker, posing risks to those in close proximity. Imams stressed the urgency of addressing the issue and called upon the society to take action to safeguard public health. – Azlan Othman