No Smoking Day

No Smoking Day

On Wednesday, in a joint initiative by the GHA and MOD, Health Promotion held its annual No Smoking Day campaign stand, outside the ICC. At the stall, a variety of leaflets and pamphlets were made available to the public and ranged from how to stop smoking to the dangers of smoking. Large 3D posters also demonstrated the consequences of smoking and the consequences of second-hand smoke with pictures and diagrams depicting effects on eyes, asthma, babies and cancer. 

At the stall, separate jars of tar and phlegm, collected from the lungs of smokers, also gave the public an idea of the effects of smoking on a person. The stall also granted the public with the opportunity to sign up for smoking cessation appointments which hopes to help individuals to quit smoking.

Speaking to Dr Sohail Bhatti, Director of Public Health, he said ‘No Smoking Day is an international event that we mark in Gibraltar. I’d like to say that the public were enthusiastic and that they welcomed us but there’s a degree of love for tobacco that is a little bit hard to break as an addiction. Gibraltar has got the highest rate of smoking in Europe now and about 35% of the population smoke.

‘We are addicted to smoking in a really bad way and sadly people are in denial about how harmful it is. We know that people smoke in front of their children, in the same house and car as their children, so not only do they smoke and harm themselves; they harm their children as well. This is difficult to accept really, why would you want to harm your children?

'We have a blind spot because we don’t think that smoking is harmful even though we’ve got hugely massive rates of bronchitis, which is also caused by smoking. I know that people who have had heart attacks are told to stop smoking but many continue to smoke, so it’s really quite addictive.

‘Personally I’d like us to move onto doing something that’s less harmful; vaping for example, the addiction is to nicotine. So vaping is a good way to get the nicotine out without the chemical problem. There are 3000 chemicals in one cigarette; would you want that in your lungs?

'So if I spilled this jar of tar on the street, the environmental agency would come around and there would be a crisis straight away. It’s got dioxins in it, carcinogens, as I said if I dropped it here and called the environmental agency, they would clear the area because it would be so risky for poison. We banned smoking in a public place because we have duty of care to our workers, what about children? We need to do a lot more.’