As athletes from around the Pacific put in their final preparations before arriving for the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games, World No Tobacco Day aims to push people not to let tobacco “take your breath away.”
Athletes, officials, spectators, volunteers, and the workforce involved in the Games are reminded that the event is smokefree.
May 31, which is just 37 days until the Opening Ceremony kicks off a fortnight of sporting competition, is the annual No Tobacco Day organised by the World Health Organisation.
The annual campaign raises awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and aims to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.
The 20 venues, in Upolu and Savai’i, used during Samoa 2019 will be smokefree, for the enjoyment of all. Tobacco products will not be for sale at venues either.
The Games Village at Faleula, which will house about 5,000 athletes, is officially a non-smoking zone, based on the Pacific Games Council Charter. The non-smoking policy is required to be in place from three days before the Opening Ceremony to two days after the Closing Ceremony, according to the charter.
Pacific Games Council executive director Andrew Minogue said: “The Pacific Games Council strongly supports Samoa’s initiatives to provide smokefree venues for the Pacific Games.
“The PGC charter forbids tobacco sponsorship as well as smoking in the Games Village.
“Extending it to the Games venues allows the Samoan public to follow the example set by our athletes who know that smoking is not compatible with athletic performance nor a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations Samoa on this 2019 World No Tobacco Day.”
The Ministry of Health said the smokefree campaign will help keep tobacco control on the agenda of decision-makers and in the minds of the people of Samoa.
The Pacific Island nations are committed to WHO’s Tobacco Free Pacific 2025 goal and to the Healthy Islands vision. It is important that Samoa continues to promote this theme in all opportunities available, MOH said.