World Cancer Day marked by anti-smoking campaign

Health Minister Joe Cassar holds press conference on World Cancer Day and launches anti-smoking campaign.

26.6% of men and 9% of women who died in Malta last year, had lung cancer.
26.6% of men and 9% of women who died in Malta last year, had lung cancer.

Addressing a news conference to mark World Cancer Day held this morning at Mater Dei hospital, the Health Minister, Joe Cassar said government intends to embark on anti-smoking campaign to address the growing number of cancers caused by tobacco.

Cassar said that 26.6% of men and 9% of women who died in Malta last year, had lung cancer. "Smoking is a vice people find very hard to get rid of. Smoking not only harms smokers but is also harmful to people around smokers."

Stephen Montford, who chairs the smoking and health committee that runs smoking cessation programmes, said that hospital offers cessation and psycho therapy classes to hospital patients and employees who wish to stop smoking. Montford also said that a tender has been issued for the introduction of nicotine replacement therapy patches for patients.  

Montford said that a survey held amongst the 3,600 employees at Mater Dei shows that around 25.4% of respondents said they smoked. 22% said they smoked while on duty.

He added that passive smoking affects children causing a number of allergies including hay fever and asthma.

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I am totally in favour of smoke bans but we are creating another nuisance. Smokers are gathering in dense groups outside doorways where smoking is prohibited and passing through these "Clouds" of smokers can activate an Asthma attack to those sensitive to smoke. No-Smoking areas should include a few meters outside the perimeter of buildings. Smokers sometimes even hang around outside windows....with the smoke flowing into the building anyway!