Today on 31 May which is 'World No Tobacco Day', St Helena Government (SHG) has announced a policy to make all SHG sites fully smoke-free, becoming a 'Smoke-Free Government' from Sunday, 1 July 2018.
Outside areas as well as inside will be smoke-free and smoking will no longer be allowed either by staff or public anywhere on site.
Chief Secretary, Susan O'Bey, explains:
We are doing this for SHG to take the lead in setting a strong community example of smoking not being ever-present in our community. We want our staff and people coming to our premises to be part of a no smoking environment.
This is about our people � we care about our employees and our community members and we want to encourage and support people to try to quit.
Lastly, the policy will provide greater protection for all staff and visitors from second-hand smoke, which is a health risk in outdoor areas as well as indoors.
The stronger policy also removes additional breaks for staff that smoke to go out and smoke during the working day (apart from off-site at lunchtime). This means that staff that smoke will have the same break times as non-smoking staff.
To support smokers who want to quit, a new Smoking Cessation Support Service is being launched by the Health Directorate and will be available from 1 July onward. A free four-week course of an appropriate Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) option will be available to any community member who smokes and attends the service.
Chairperson of the Public Health Committee, Councillor Derek Thomas, said:
I am delighted that the Health Directorate is developing the support to help our smokers quit. I have heard that people on the Island who want to quit feel stuck and want better support to get free from smoking. The opportunity for our community members to attend the new service and also get a free course of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is an important part of the work we will be doing to reduce smoking and the health burden it places on our community.
Smoking is one of the two biggest preventable causes of the heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and diabetes that are causing our people to lose their health at younger ages. This is not the vision we want for St Helena. To change this we all need to be a part and do something.
The exercise earlier in 2018 that helped develop the Health Promotion Strategic Framework identified what local people themselves said they want for health on St Helena. Smokers and non-smokers agreed that they wanted:
A community where our young people don't see their adult role models smoking in all public places, at every public, official, and social event
A community where we have effective support and encouragement to help smokers quit when they decide to try
A community where a smoker trying to quit isn't faced by smoking everywhere they go, opportunities to smoke in all parts of daily life, and acceptance that smoking is the 'norm'.
The Smoke-Free Government policy is one first part of putting this into practice in our community.
Source: St Helena Government