ANTONIO Pallicer, the director of the Balearic health ministry, yesterday launched an anti-tobacco campaign aimed at a complete ban on smoking in all regional health centres. Follow-up plans would extend the ban to educational centres. Pallicer, who is also regional co-ordinator for action on drug-related problems, has already begun contacting key figures as part of his drive to eradicate “smoke” from all centres for health and education. He explained that work will be carried out on drafting future regional law banning smoking in certain areas, although he indicated that these plans already have a legitimate basis under 1988 statutes. “It is most regrettable that there are currently few hospitals that have a total ban on smoking and our first converts will have to be the management and hospital workers themselves” specified Pallicer. He related that the plan consists of targetting heads of departments at each and every one of the health centres under his auspices “to obtain their commitment not to smoke”. The Balearic government has committed to offering alternative therapy and to support training programmes in the fight against smoking amongst professional people, as much at a primary health care level as in larger hospital centres. “There are bound to be health centres already existing where there is a ban on smoking, but this certainly does not apply to all. We want this policy to extend to schools, colleges and education centres, because such institutions form a base for adult social behaviour”, declared Pallicer. He indicated that regional government will have to intervene further in other aspects such as the sale of tobacco and to control under-age purchase of cigarettes. The fight against smoking, which has a budget of 58'400 euros for the coming year, has unequivocable government backing, claimed Pallicer.

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