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Story Highlights

  • The country is already seeing the benefits of the promulgation of the tobacco Regulations under the Jamaica Public Health Act.
  • The Health Ministry is very pleased with the support received for the passage of the legislation.
  • TheNCDA National Secondary School survey found that alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and solvents/inhalants continue to be the substances most commonly used by students in Jamaica.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the country is already seeing the benefits of the promulgation of the tobacco Regulations under the Jamaica Public Health Act.

“Jamaica is better for that decision. Already, we have seen in our public health clinics and hospitals reductions in admissions for certain kinds of diseases or patients who would normally have been affected by tobacco smoke in public places,” Dr. Ferguson said.

He was speaking at the National Schools ‘No Tobacco’ Poster and DJ competition, held at the St. Peter and Paul Church Hall on May 30, under the theme: ‘Smoke Free Public Spaces: It’s Your Right, Protect It’.

The Minister noted that the Ministry is also very pleased with the support received for the passage of the legislation.

“While we had persons opposing initially, the surveys confirm that 83 per cent of the population was supportive of those regulations,” Dr. Ferguson said.

The Regulations took effect on July 15, 2013. The main areas covered include a Smoke Free Environment, Tobacco Packaging and Labelling, Requirements for Graphic Health Warnings on 75 per cent of tobacco packaging (now revised to 60 per cent) and Disclosures Regarding Ingredients and Penalties for Violation of the Regulations.

Meanwhile, the Health Minister informed that World No Tobacco Day will be celebrated on Saturday, May 31.

“This is a special day on the calendar for all of us, but more so for young people. I know the pressure you often times undergo from your peers and they call you all types of names, because you do not fall in line. But it is not weak people who are needed to lead this war. You have to have strength and character and ensure that when the loud mouths come around, that you can reject them with confidence,” he encouraged.

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) National Secondary School survey found that alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana and solvents/inhalants continue to be the substances most commonly used by students in Jamaica.

The study contains data from 3,365 students across 38 schools from 11 parishes.

Most of the students who participated were females (57.3 per cent). The age range of students was between 11 and 25 years, with the mean age being 14 years.