Islanders have just ten days left to respond to a public consultation which will shape Jersey’s future tobacco strategy.
The Public Health Department launched the consultation in early August this year, seeking the views of members of the public on smoking in places where children may be present. The consultation closes on 31 October 2013.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Susan Turnbull, said: “Please don’t assume that decisions have already been made on what more could, and perhaps should be done to protect Jersey’s children from tobacco smoke. So far we have heard from about 2,500 Islanders. By the time we analyse the responses I would like to have heard from many, many more. This is an opportunity that is too important for the people of Jersey to miss. It will shape how we go forward with advice to the Minister, based on how much public appetite there is out there for pushing a little further to extend smoke-free places in the Island.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable ill-health and early death in Jersey. Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke, breathing even a little is bad for your health. Many children remain exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke, putting them at increased risk of a range of health problems including asthma, glu ear and cot death.
One of the key aims of the current States of Jersey Tobacco Control Strategy (to 2015) is to protect families and communities from tobacco-related harm. However, it is recognised that tobacco is a controversial issue and that public engagement in considering the options for protecting children is vital.
Senior Public Health Officer, Martin Knight added: “The consultation covers a range of options that would protect more children from second-hand smoke. The public may, or may not, support some of the possible extensions to smoke-free public spaces that this consultation asks about.
“Importantly, this consultation is about allowing the residents of Jersey to play their part in shaping future strategy, and influencing politics if there is a groundswell of opinion in a particular direction. That’s why we are now reminding, and strongly encouraging ALL remaining Islanders to complete our short questionnaire in order to have their views considered.”
For more information and to complete an online survey, please visit www.gov.je/smokefree or the facebook page ‘protecting children from second-hand smoke’.