5 October, 2017. The Tongan Ministry of Health launched a hard-hitting campaign today highlighting the dangers of tobacco use.
The Tuku Ifi Leva (Quit Smoking Now) campaign is implemented by the Tongan Ministry of Health with support from the Australian Government, Tonga Health Promotion Foundation, and the World Health Organization.
The campaign will run for six weeks on TV, radio, press and Facebook throughout the Kingdom, commencing 5th of October 2017.
The Tuku Ifi Leva campaign graphically shows the risks of tobacco use, including cancers and diseases affecting the heart, lungs, brain, throat, and mouth.
With 46% of men and 13% of women smoking, tobacco use in Tonga is among the highest in the world. Up to half of these men and women can be expected to die as a direct result of their smoking habits.
Many more Tongans, including children and adults affected by secondhand smoke, will be left disabled by cancers, diseases, infections, asthma and other serious health complications caused by tobacco use.
Dr Reynold 'Ofanoa, Chief Medical Officer of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, said today "According to the CDC, smokers will lose about 10 years of their life. That is ten years without children, families and loved ones. We believe all Tongans have a right to live smokefree".
Smokers motivated to quit by the campaign can receive advice and support from fully trained Ministry of Health staff through a newly established toll-free Quitline (0800 333).
The Tuku Ifi Leva campaign is delivered as part of The Tonga National Strategy to Prevent and Control Non-Communicable Disease 2015-2020 (The National NCD Strategy).
Ongoing delivery of the National NCD Strategy, including the Tuku Ifi Leva campaign, is funded and supported by the Australian Government, the Tonga Health Promotion Foundation, and the World Health Organization.