GEORGE NEWS - Firefighters of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had to contain a fire caused by smokers inside a minibus at the GRDM's head office in George last Friday.
This was an exercise that formed part of the municipality's launch of their World No Tobacco Day campaign, and it certainly brought home the message that smoking is dangerous in more ways than one.
Councillors, management and staff of the GRDM, in collaboration with other stakeholders, launched the campaign in front of the GRDM head office on 31 May.
After the formalities, GRDM environmental health practitioners - the initiators of the event - and stakeholders took part in a "silent march" through George, displaying messages to educate the public about the health effects of tobacco consumption.
One such message was "Quit before your time runs out".The campaign supports the worldwide initiative which focuses on tobacco and lung health.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the world-wide campaign increases awareness of the negative impact tobacco has on lung health, contributing to cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
It also highlights the fundamental role lungs play in the health and overall well-being of all people. The campaign is a call to action, advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption, and to engage stakeholders across multiple sectors in the fight for a tobacco-free world.
During his keynote address at the launch, Portfolio Councillor for Community Services, Khayalethu Lose, gave a brief history of the campaign. He pointed out that 44 000 South Africans die annually from tobacco consumption - more reason why this day must be commemorated, especially because it brings knowledge of the harmful effects of tobacco use.
In pledging his support on behalf of the GRDM, he said, "Let us make this World No Tobacco Day more meaningful".
As part of the well-being of representatives, stakeholders such as the Cancer Association of South Africa and the Western Cape Department of Health provided health-related services from 10:00 to 12:00, for staff to have screening tests done.
The message going out from everyone present was: if all members of the community are willing to stay abreast of these powerful messages in their daily lives, we can live together in a tobacco-free world.
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