To reduce the harmful effects of smoking, Cameroonian public places are developing the concept of smoke-free zones. Concept admired by people who frequent these places.
It is noon, it’s break time in Yaounde. At Socropole, a bistro located in the neighborhoodof Ngousso, the service responsible and servers are busy to satisfy all customers who wish to enjoy the break to build up. Particular situation, the structure is non-smoking. Sign prohibiting smoking is also known to all clients.
The structure made an original choice at a time when tobacco control is in its full swing. “We have decided to ban cigarettes for the comfort of our customers,” said anonymously by the manager of the structure. Like him, many public places (restaurants, bistros, bars and schools, public transport vehicles …) by the city of seven hills trying this experience for economic or personal reasons.
In the regions, the problem of smoking also concerns promoters of recreational and leisure spaces. In the town of Dschang for example, we notice the creation of hotels (Mbouho Star Palace, Météo Palace) smoke-free and non-smoking night clubs. According to the Cameroon Coalition to Counter Tobacco (C3T) “We need to encourage these spontaneous initiatives. For there are now dissatisfied customers, who wishto eat and drink without being bothered by cigarette smoke,” says Dr. Flore NDEMBIYEMBE, President of the C3T.
For now, it is difficult to say if the ban on smoking in public places influencesthe turnover of the latter. Located in Obili, a Snack bar that has smoking and non -smoking space for more than six months, did not notice any change in its turnover. “Sometimes a customer goes away, very unhappy, but most really appreciate the concept. Some even come especially for it” observed by Yvette ATOGO, the manager. “The customer service, too, very satisfied” she concluded.
On the customer's side, opinions differ. For Saïd and Blandine, both non-smokers, the measure is welcomed. Young people aged twenty years, are also not hostile to the idea that the practice should spread to other Cameroonian public places. An opinion not shared by Martha a sexagenarian noticedat the Météo palace “I am for the ban on smoking inside,” she explains. “That said, although non-smoker, I think we should reserve space for smokers.” for others, non – smoking spaces gives them the opportunity to enjoy recreational spaces. This is the case of Raisa T, a student at the University of Dschang, “before it was difficult forme to go for BT ( Night Club) because tobacco puffs of smoke choked me , but with the creation of anti-tobacco clubs I can do it without problems, ” she says .
In Cameroon, secondhand smoking is a public health problem that concerns the whole society, smokers as well as non -smokers, children and adults. According to the results of the Global Adult Tobacco survey on tobacco use among adults conducted in 2013 by the National Institute of Statistics in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health , nearly 6720 000 people are exposed to tobacco smoke in public places. This exposition represents a major risk for both smokers and nonsmokers. Indeed, tobacco use, whatever its form is responsible for cancers, cardiovascular disease and respiratory diseases…
The multiplication of smoke-free public places is a sign that the Cameroonian population wishto see measures that can protect them from the dangers of tobacco use.