Vigilance on food and electrical items stepped up | Sunday Observer

Vigilance on food and electrical items stepped up

22 December, 2019

With just three days to Christmas, inspectors from the Food Unit of the Health Ministry and the Consumer Affairs Authority as well as other authorities are now joining forces to ensure that customers are served with safe and quality products. They told the Sunday Observer to check and re-check all dates of expiry on ready made foods such as cakes and cake ingredients, flour, oil, and buy such items only from registered outlets and distributors. They said that all electrical items should have a warranty card and customers should get them checked at the sales outlets before taking them home. Irons, toasters, and illuminations that have faulty wires could cause minor explosions that could harm your family, they said. They emphasised that children should not be allowed to light fireworks or crackers except under adult supervision

Over a thousand tobacco free zones in the offing

The recent announcement by the Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi that over a thousand tobacco free zones will be set up island wide has been welcomed by health officials concerned by the number of victims of inhaling cigarette smoke.

The Minister in her address to the World Health Organisation Global Meeting to Accelerate Progress on NCD and Mental Health held in Muscat, Oman, was quoted as saying that Sri Lanka had accepted many of the recommendations of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control( FCTC) from the time it was ratified in 2016 and was one of the first countries in the South East Asian region to agree to the WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

She was quoted as saying that Sri Lanka established the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol ( NATA) as an independent government agency to address the harm caused by the use of tobacco and alcohol, adding that prevention and control of non communicable diseases ( NCDs) was now a priority issue in the national health agenda. As Chairperson of the NCD Council she promised to regularly monitor the progress of NCD prevention and control programs in the country.

According to The American Heart and Lung Association Report in 2018 tobacco smoke is made up of more than 7,000 chemicals, including over 70 known to cause cancer (carcinogens).

Speaking to the Sunday Observer health sources said, a number of older schoolchildren and young adults were being lured into cigarette smoking via attractive advertisements and reduced prices being offered to them on imported cigarettes of low quality. They said the Health Ministry had banned the sale of any cigarettes within the proximity of a school and reiterated that those selling brands without warning signs could be penalised.

Asked about E- smoking which was currently gaining ground among the more affluent classes, they warned users not to be misled by false claims that they were used to quit smoking. The aerosols these products produce can contain addictive nicotine, flavourings, and a variety of other chemicals, some known to be toxic or to cause cancer.

Though the levels of many of these substances appear to be lower than in traditional cigarettes, the amounts of nicotine and other substances in these products could vary widely because they are not standardized. The long-term health effects of these devices are not known, but they are being studied,” they said.

Asked the best way to quit smoking, they said, “To stop smoking quit altogether. Don’t turn to other options. There are many trained counsellors provided by the Health Ministry who are willing to help you free of charge.”

Sri Lanka leaps into high human development category position

The recent announcement by the United Nations Development Program ( UNDP) that Sri Lanka has leaped into the high human development category position at 71 out of 189 countries is something we all can be proud about, health officials told the Sunday Observer.

Accepting the Report at the recent launch, State Minister for Economic and Policy Development John Seneviratne was quoted as saying that the state’s vision was to have a prosperous healthy country and that the Report in that context was timely as it gave them a sense of where Sri Lanka stood and what it needs to do to achieve that vision.