New campaign shows harmful effects of secondhand smoke on children

A new tobacco control campaign was launched today in Tonga to warn people about the deadly effects of second-hand smoke exposure on children.

The campaign, known as Tuku Ifi Leva (quit smoking now) by the Ministry of Health says 46 percent of men and 13 percent of women smoking tobacco in Tonga are among the highest in the world.

“Up to half of these men and women can be expected to die as a direct result of their smoking habits”, the Ministry of Health said.

Dr Reynold ‘Ofanoa, Chief Medical Officer Public Health at the Ministry of Health, said today:  “We know that smokers will lose about 10 years of their life. That is ten years without children, families and loved ones. We believe all Tongans have rights to live smokefree”.

And to stand an even better chance of quitting, Tongan residents are encouraged to contact Health Ministry on its new  toll-free Quitline 0800 333.

The commitment by the government to help reduce smoking to minimal levels reached an important phase early this year  after Parliament passed  a new tobacco law  prohibiting smoking in bars, clubs, restaurants and a range of other places.

The Tuku Ifi Leva campaign was  part of The Tonga National Strategy to Prevent and Control Non-Communicable Disease 2015-2020 (The National NCD Strategy).

“Ongoing delivery of the National NCD Strategy, including the Tuku Ifi Leva campaign, is made possible through the support of the Australian Government, the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation (TongaHealth), and the World Health Organization”.

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