Mauritius: A Tobacco Cessation Clinic set up at the Long Mountain Hospital was inaugurated this morning by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal.
Other eminent personalities, including the Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Georges Pierre Lesjongard; the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia; and Members of Parliament, Subhasnee Luchmun Roy and Marie Joanne Sabrina Tour, were also present.
In a statement, Dr Jagutpal deplored that there is an alarmingly high number of smokers among the population, representing 15%, among whom most are men from the age group of 24 to 34 years. He further indicated that the sale of cigarettes amounted to more than 1.1 billion units in 2022.
He warned that cigarette smoking has devastating impacts on health, including high risks of suffering from Non-communicable diseases and diverse forms of cancers. According to him, this alarming trend will result in a disease burden for the country in the next few years and may overstrain our health services.
The Health Minister further emphasised that in line with the Government’s objective of providing all the necessary health facilities and services to nurture a healthy population, the Tobacco Cessation Clinic will encourage tobacco users to kick their addiction.
Minister Jagutpal informed that the treatment offered by the Tobacco Cessation Clinic includes psychological support, medication and counselling to address the tobacco addiction of the patient.
Furthermore, the Health Minister recalled that the National Action Plan for Tobacco Control devised in 2021 caters to several strategies to curb tobacco smoking. He added two key measures, including the introduction of plain tobacco packaging as of May 2023 and no new tobacco-vending licenses being issued to retailers located within a perimeter of 200 metres around educational institutions, sports and leisure facilities, as per international standards.
For her part, the WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia, lauded the continuous efforts made by the Government to address tobacco smoking. She expressed conviction that the Tobacco Cessation Clinic will support those who want to get rid of their smoking addiction.