42,000 people are dying every year in Romania because of smoking, namely the equivalent of 200 crashed airplanes, stated on Thursday the Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu, at the conference called “2035 – The first non-smoker generation of Romania”, held at Cotroceni Palace.
“I lived a long time in Vienna and I traveled very often with the airplane, weekly for a long period of time. I was very afraid of flying, I was afraid that something could happen. 42,000 people are dying in Romania every year because of smoking, which means about 200 crashed airplanes”, said the Minister.
Vlad Voiculescu also spoke about his parents, who are smokers since they were 20 years old, saying that his father had his first heart attack before being 40.
“Being a young man, I am glad that both of my parents are alive. Both of them are smoking since they were 20. My mother is a primary school teacher and my father was a performance athlete, he was a performance swimmer. My father had his first heart attack before reaching the age of 40 and suffered a double bypass less than six months ago, is still recovering and I am glad to have him as before. My mother’s pulmonary capacity is also below 50 percent. Again, they started to smoke when they were 20”, revealed the Minister, according to Mediafax.
Voiculescu underlined that the impact of smoking is visible after 15-20 years, stating that besides stopping from smoking, prevention is very important, especially in order for the young people not to start smoking.
“Personally, I am scared about the figures. 5 percent of the 11 years old children 17 percent of the 13 years old children, 37 percent of the 15 years old children and 52 percent of the 16 years old children have smoked at least once. At this last level of age, the percentage of children constantly smoking is 29%. The target is definitely ambitious, but I am sure that having a concerted effort from the state institutions, from the civil society and from each of us, we can reach there, more exactly we wish to have only 5 percent of the 13-15 years old children smoking in 2035. How do we intent to do this? By encouraging measures, and thus, the strategy launched toady involves prevention, protection and encouragement”, concluded the Minister.
The anti-smoking law was amended in June by the senators, by redefining the closed public space, this being framed by walls all around, by allowing smoking in separated, totally isolated and labeled spaces.
“The closed public space means any space that is accessible to the public or dedicated to the collective use, regardless of the property form or of the right of access, having a roof, ceiling or cover and being framed by walls all around, regardless of their nature or if they are temporary or permanent walls, excepting the spaces for housing”, according to an amendment adopted in the plenum with 76 votes “for”.
“Smoking is allowed in separated, totally isolated and specially labeled spaces for this destination, as well as on outdoor terraces specially arranged for this purpose”, states another amendment initiated by the Health Committee.
Senate is the first notified Chamber for this bill, while the Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body.
“The amendments from the Senate to the anti-smoking law are an attack to the health of the people”
Health Minister, Vlad Voiculescu, stated on Thursday that the amendments proposed by the Health Committee of the Senate to the anti-smoking law are an attack to the health of all the people and asked the MPs to reject them.
“The Health Committee of the Senate, I repeat, the Health Committee of the Senate proposed amendments actually allowing smoking in any opened space; the only requirement is that the space has to be labeled, not dedicated. It only has to be specially labeled with the smoking destination, and this is an attack to the health of all the people, regardless if they are employees or employers, clients or serving staff, children or adults”, argued the Minister at a conference held at Cotroceni Palace.
The Minister appealed to the Chamber of Deputies, saying that he trusts the decision-making body that it will correct this mistake and drawing attention on the fact that the relaxation of the law cannot produce positive impact in terms of public health.
“The law enjoys the support of most of the people in Romania; the experience of the European countries where this measure was implemented indicates that the economic impact is not insurmountable at all and that the impact on the public health is incomparably higher. Also, it’s not true that we have the toughest anti-smoking law, but it is true that we deeply need this plurality of measures, normal restrictions and support from the state and from the society. We have a responsibility, in particular towards Romania’s young people and children, and we have to assume it, otherwise I personally do not understand what is our role in decision-making positions”, underlined Voiculescu, according to Mediafax.
President Iohannis: Prevention a priority for healthcare policy in Romania
Romanian institutions shoulder a responsibility for Romania’s youth and children and ought to educate tomorrow’s adults on the importance of prevention, President Klaus Iohannis told the opening of “2035- Romania’s First Tobacco-Free Generation” conference at Cotroceni Palace.
“Let me congratulate you on this event! At the same time, I want you to look at it as part of a larger dialogue on the importance of prevention and health education,” Iohannis said.
Also attending the conference were Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu and Minister for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue Violeta Alexandru together with representatives of Romanian and foreign public organisations, academia, physicians and civil society advocates.
“We all want our children to be healthy, and this can only be achieved by debate and involvement at all levels. As you know, prevention and health education are part of my concerns as a president in the long run. I believe prevention should be a priority for health policy in Romania,” Iohannis said.
The president also pointed out that most frequent and dangerous diseases that currently affect our health are, in fact, preventable.
“Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are linked to our life styles, and smoking is one of the risk factors. Actually, prevention can save lives,” Iohannis added.
“This is where your role starts, the role of preventive education, of establishing new behavior patterns related to one’s own health. If we insist today on preventive education, including smoking risk awareness, we give the next generation a chance for a healthier life and an educated life-style choices,” the president said.
He also underscored the responsibility of public institutions in this respect.
“We have a responsibility to Romania’s youth and children. We can support tomorrow’s adults in understating the importance of prevention and a healthy life style. I suggest you approach this topic responsibly and with insight in order to offer future generations a chance to make an educated choice,” the president concluded.