A fourth batch of Police Officers, who attended the Workshop on Tobacco Control and Prevention, received their certificates, yesterday, during an official ceremony held at the Diamond Hall, Special Mobile Force, in Vacoas, in the presence of the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal.
The workshop, around the theme ‘The Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations 2022 – Increasing Enforcement through Capacity-Building’, was organised by the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Vie et Santé (VISA). A total of 95 Police Officers attended the workshop in different batches.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Anil Kumar Dip; the World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia; VISA’s Honorary President, Mrs Véronique Le Clézio; as well as other personalities, were present on this occasion.
In his address, Minister Jagutpal highlighted that participants have received the necessary training for enabling them to enforce the law more effectively as far as tobacco consumption is concerned. He observed that emphasis must be laid on the prevention of consuming tobacco products and encourage smokers to live a healthier life.
The Minister pointed out that Mauritius has already embarked on the process of progressively introducing legislations in order to combat the consumption of tobacco products. He affirmed that Police Officers play a critical role in this process as they are the ones who can enforce the law while working with other agencies.
Furthermore, Dr Jagutpal stated that Government will bring new policies and guidelines as far as the consumption of tobacco products is concerned. It is nonetheless up to the civil society to change their behaviour towards such products for their own good, he added.
As for the Commissioner of Police, he underlined that a partnership approach is required so as to discourage citizens from consuming tobacco products, thus leading towards the healthiness of the population. He expressed conviction that the workshop provided more insight to participants on how to become agents of change, who advocate non-smoking.
He emphasised that, at the level of the Mauritius Police Force (MPF), each opportunity will be seized in order to provide Police Officers with adequate knowledge so that they can in turn sensitise the public at large. He also appealed to members of the MPF to work towards the advancement of society and ensure a better future for the youth.
For her part, Dr Ancia reminded the importance of law enforcement so that the regulations in place have a positive impact on Mauritian citizens. According to her, Mauritius has made significant progress in implementing measures aiming to deter citizens from consuming tobacco products.
The WHO Representative recalled that tobacco kills more than eight million people yearly, while 80% of tobacco users live in middle and low-income countries. She also stressed on the need for Government and NGOs to work together to decrease the number of tobacco consumers among the population.
Mrs Le Clézio, for her part, dwelt on the mission of VISA, which is, amongst others, to educate the population at large on the negative effects of tobacco. She moreover remarked that VISA is very active as far as sensitisation campaigns on the ill-effects of tobacco are concerned.