World No Tobacco Day will be celebrated on Monday, May 31, under the theme "Gender and Tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women".

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), controlling the epidemic of tobacco among women is an important part of any comprehensive tobacco control strategy. World No Tobacco Day 2010 will, therefore, draw particular attention to the harmful effects of tobacco marketing towards women and girls. It will also highlight the need for the nearly 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to ban all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in accordance with their constitutions or constitutional principles.

It is recognised that women comprise about 20 per cent of the world’s more than 1 billion smokers.?? The WHO also noted that the epidemic of tobacco use among women was increasing in some countries. "Women are a major target of opportunity for the tobacco industry, which needs to recruit new users to replace the nearly half of current users who will die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases," it declared.

In recognition of the day, the Ministry of Health will join with the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) and the Heart & Stroke Foundation tomorrow, Saturday, May 29 to host an outreach programme in Swan Street that will promote the recently introduced legislation that bans the sale of tobacco to minors (that is children under the age of 18).

It will take place from 10:00 a.m. and will include performances from the Pinelands Creative Workshop and the distribution of flyers against tobacco use.

In September 2004, Barbados signed the FCTC and ratified it in November 2005. As a signatory to the convention, Barbados is obligated to take the necessary steps to fulfill this mandate which involves the changing and enactment of new and existing policies and programmes related to tobacco control.

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