Saba introduces smoke-free playgrounds

Signs have been put up at Saba’s playgrounds and parks, asking people not to smoke in these areas. The placing of the colorful signs, depicting happy children faces, are part of the public health strategy to create a smoke-free generation.

Although there is no specific regulation forbidding people to smoke at playgrounds and public parks, the Public Entity Saba wants to encourage people to give the right example to children by refraining from smoking.

Children copy what they see, and limiting the exposure to people that smoke has been proven to lower smoking rates later on. Everyone knows that smoking is a major threat to health. The addictive nature of tobacco makes it difficult to quit so preventing children and adolescents from starting to smoke is a key component in creating a smoke-free generation.

The Public Health Department has been providing information at the Saba schools about the harmful effects of tobacco for some years now. Children in grade 5 and 6 are not only being taught about how bad smoking is for their health, but they also learn how they can stand up to peer pressure.

Creating a smoke-free generation is part of the healthy lifestyle that the Public Entity Saba is promoting. The recently published ‘Public Health on Saba 2019-2020’ document, which takes a look at Sabans’ current health and presents a vision to further promote public health, specifically mentions the creating of more smoke-free places, such as playgrounds, sports facilities, and parks.

Other effective ways of lowering smoking rates mentioned in the report are increasing the price of cigarettes, changing of the packaging, and making more public spaces smoke-free, including bars and restaurants. The Public Entity will be looking into these measures in the coming years. Almost one in four Sabans (23.6 per cent) smokes, which is more than on other Caribbean islands.

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