Health Coalition Endorses WHO Declaration against Tobacco Use

Photo: Mark Bell Heart Foundation of Jamaica Executive Director and Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control Board Member, Deborah Chen, addressing a recent Jamaica Information Service Think Tank at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) has endorsed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2017 declaration against the use of tobacco, which it regards as a threat to development.
  • While noting that tobacco use imposes direct costs on the society, Mrs. Chen pointed to indirect costs “which we don’t measure…such as when that person can’t go to work because they are sick or when the breadwinner in the family dies from lung cancer.”
  • The latest Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey shows that the prevalence of tobacco use by adults averaged 14.5 per cent.

The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) has endorsed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2017 declaration against the use of tobacco, which it regards as a threat to development.

Coalition board member and Heart Foundation of Jamaica Executive Director, Deborah Chen, notes “clear signs” suggesting that sustainable development, targeting the promotion of prosperity and economic opportunity, enhanced social well-being and protection of the environment, is not consistent with tobacco use.

She said the threat to development directly impacts persons in the lower income bracket who are often unable to purchase clothes or medication, send their children to school or pay their bills, pointing out that “these issues really keep us back”.

While noting that tobacco use imposes direct costs on the society, Mrs. Chen pointed to indirect costs “which we don’t measure…such as when that person can’t go to work because they are sick or when the breadwinner in the family dies from lung cancer.”

She was speaking at a recent Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the agency’s head office in Kingston.

Mrs. Chen noted the alarming global rate at which persons succumb to tobacco use, pointing out that this averaged 19,000 per day or 7.2 million annually. Eighty per cent of these, she added, live in lower and middle-income countries.

The latest Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey shows that the prevalence of tobacco use by adults averaged 14.5 per cent.

Pointing out that this figure was worrying, Mrs. Chen said the JCTC planned to lobby the relevant stakeholder support to reduce the use of tobacco and other nicotine products.

 

The JCTC is an advocacy group comprising representatives of the Association of General Practitioners; Diabetes Association of Jamaica; Caribbean College of Family Physicians (Jamaica Chapter); Heart Foundation of Jamaica; Jamaica Cancer Society; Jamaica Dental Association; Jamaica Psychiatric Association; Medical Association of Jamaica and Nurses Association of Jamaica.

The group is advocating for the inclusion of tobacco control in the national response to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda

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