Launching the year-long "No Smoke Solomon Islands" campaign
For Solomon Islands, World No Tobacco Day 2013 (31 May) marked the launch of the “No Smoke Solomon Islands” year-long campaign and the start of public consultations on proposed regulations to ban smoking on public transport and in other settings.
In the lead up to WNTD, billboards were put up around the capital city (Honiara), ‘No Smoking’ stickers were distributed to public transport owners, and the media were briefed on the proposed regulations, all in an effort to encourage public discussion and raise awareness of tobacco control efforts and objectives.
WNTD: A call to action and celebrating champions
A day of activities planned for WNTD commenced with a march through Honiara led by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force band and 200 tobacco control supporters. For those waking up and tuning in, a breakfast radio broadcast by Dr Geoffrey Kenilorea, national tobacco control focal point, highlighted the harmful effects of smoking and second hand smoke, and how the regulations address these issues.
Then, at the WNTD official opening ceremony, the Honourable Commins Mewa, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, called Solomon Islanders to stand up to the tobacco industry: "Say No: No to tobacco advertising. No to tobacco promotion. No to tobacco sponsorship. And yes to a happier and healthier future for ourselves and our children".
In recognition of Solomon Islanders already taking action, WHO ‘Blue Ribbon’ trophies were awarded to individuals nominated by the National Tobacco Control Taskforce Committee. These champions were recognized for their continued dedication against tobacco use and the prevention of secondhand smoke in their workplaces.
Making everyday World No Tobacco Day!
The enthusiasm stirred by WNTD activities in the Solomon Islands looks set to continue. Media interviews with Solomon Islanders indicate strong support for the proposed regulations to ban smoking in different settings.
Key institutions are taking pro-active steps. Solomon Islands National University and the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) have declared their premises’ ‘smoke-free’ zones. The SIFF further hopes to ban smoking at all future domestic and international tournaments.
These early-wins along with continued commitment and collaboration among the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the National Tobacco Control Taskforce Committee and WHO Solomon Islands will ensure that national tobacco control efforts lead to a happier and healthier future for Solomon Islanders.