According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it comprises approximately one death every 6 seconds. More than 5 million of these deaths are due to direct tobacco use, while 600.000 are non-smokers exposed regularly to tobacco smoke. These persons who breathe in secondhand smoke are called secondhand or passive smokers.
The use of tobacco is a common risk factor in developing non-communicable diseases. These diseases include cancer, chronic respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Worldwide 14% of all deaths of adults 30 years and older are due to non-communicable diseases, related to direct or indirect tobacco use.
A survey conducted in 2016/2017 by the Department of Public Health indicated that 12.6% of the population of Aruba 20 years and older smokes. Of this group, 20.4% are men, and 6.9% are women. Smoking is proven to be harmful to our health, and exposure for a long time to secondhand smoke causes health problems.
In Aruba, as is the case of many Caribbean islands, the primary cause of death is non-communicable diseases. From 2000 to 2010, 33% of all registered deaths in Aruba were due to cardiovascular disease. Benign of malign tumors (cancer) was the cause of 25% of all deaths. Hence cancer was the second cause of death in Aruba.
Since the primary cause of death in Aruba is non-communicable diseases and considering that tobacco use is one of the factors that cause non-communicable diseases, the law that limits tobacco products use was introduced.
With this law, the government and the Department of Public Health aim to:
- reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases by protecting secondhand smokers;
- limit the free use of tobacco by the user;
- protect the youth by preventing them from smoking at a young age.