JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The FCTC, which was adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly in 2003, comprises a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco, and limiting its use in all forms globally.
  • While the Health Ministry should be a “leading force” in the FCTC’s implementation, there are “some important engagements” which several counterpart Ministries should and must undertake.
  • The Minister also underscored the role and responsible which some critical Ministries have in implementing “what we need to do, as it relates to those (FCTC articles.”

Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Dr. Haik Nikogosian, says broad Government input is necessary to ensure Jamaica’s full implementation of the FCTC’s provisions.

The FCTC, which was adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly in 2003, comprises a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco, and limiting its use in all forms globally. Jamaica ratified the Convention in 2005.

Addressing representatives of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) at a breakfast meeting at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Friday, May 9, Dr. Nikogosian, while commending Jamaica for ratifying the FCTC, and the Health Ministry’s role in this regard, noted that “we (FCTC Secretariat) didn’t see much happening in terms of implementation, until recently.”

He contended that while the Health Ministry should be a “leading force” in the FCTC’s implementation, there are “some important engagements” which several counterpart Ministries should and must undertake.

These, Dr. Nikogosian explained, include matters relating to taxation; advertising; package information; and contraband. He pointed out that “only one-third of the Convention, in terms of the different operational measures, lies within the remit of the Health Minister.”

“My plea to you (the Government) is to create a strong multi-sectoral coordination mechanism and to also ensure a strong international cooperation…ensuring that Jamaica is part of the international effort in sharing information, (and is) involved in the bilateral support and reporting mechanisms (under the FCTC),” he added.

Meanwhile, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the meeting was convened out of the Ministry’s recognition of the need for Dr. Nikogosian to have discussions with members of the Cabinet, and other stakeholders in relation to how Jamaica is fulfilling the FCTC’s mandate, as a signatory.

He pointed out that extensive parliamentary deliberations on the FCTC resulted in 32 recommendations being proposed, which led to Jamaica ratifying the treaty in 2005.

“We are very happy…(to have) taken…the decision in relation to banning smoking in specified public places, and I want to thank my colleagues for  their support during that time, and the Cabinet of Jamaica, and the sub-committee of Cabinet that also deliberated on that matter,” Dr. Ferguson stated.

The Minister also underscored the role and responsible which some critical Ministries have in implementing “what we need to do, as it relates to those (FCTC articles).”

“So, it is not a Health Ministry issue, and ought not to be so. It is impacting on industry and commerce, youth and culture, finance, education, (and) foreign affairs,” Dr. Ferguson added.