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Smoking a little is just as bad – Dr. Tapela

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The idea that occasional smoking does not do any harm is a dangerous myth, District Officer at Humana People to People Botswana (HPPB), Sam Rantsho has said, following the launch of a new project on the dangers of smoking in Botswana that the organisation is undertaking.

The African Capacity Building Foundation through, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, awarded the HPPB a grant for P1.2 million to implement the project in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. “Social smokers often don’t think of themselves as smokers, so they don’t believe the health warnings about smoking apply to them. But the bottom line is, every cigarette exposes your body to harmful chemicals.” Rantsho said. He believes that even if a person smokes only occasionally; they are still exposed to long-term risks. As well as lung cancer, there are at least 13 other cancers linked with smoking.

According to Rantsho, the year-long project, which will be implemented in Gaborone and Gantsi is aimed at raising awareness on the risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for smoke-free environments within public areas. Several activities are planned for awareness creation including sensitisation workshops, which will be held with hotel and restaurant owners, media, civil society organisations and community leaders.

Adding to Rantsho’s sentiments, the head of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Neo Tapela, said an occasional cigarette is also connected to a host of other illnesses including cataracts, reduced fertility, an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (where the pregnancy develops outside the uterus) and weak bones. However, the direct health effects of social smoking are only part of the problem.

Dr Tapela said because smoking is highly addictive, smoking “a little” can easily turn into smoking more. “Non-daily smokers who smoke over three packs a month are just as likely to still be smoking after 14 years as daily smokers,” she said. She noted that many social smokers binge smoke when they do smoke, rather than just having a cigarette or two. “At present we have no way of knowing how readily a person will become addicted to nicotine until after the event, when they have become addicted. Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to mankind, so experimenting in that space is not smart,” she said, stressed that the only safe strategy is not to smoke at all.

There is some good news however, according to Dr Tapela, and that is, as soon as one stops smoking, the body starts to recover. Within 12 hours of your last cigarette, blood carbon monoxide levels are much lower and after a year, the risk of coronary heart disease will be half of what it once was as a smoker. For social smokers wanting to quit, she said it could help to ask friends to discourage you from smoking in social situations. “Cutting down on alcohol can also help some social smokers who tend to smoke more when they drink. And you might think about the people around you who have to breathe in the smoke you exhale,” she concluded.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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