- The Government has completed legal arrangements and is now ready to Gazette the amended Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013.
- The Minister informed that no changes have been made to the amendments, and the measures are to protect the nation’s health.
- The current regulations make it illegal for persons to smoke in areas designated as specified public places.
The Government has completed legal arrangements and is now ready to Gazette the amended Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013, which was effected on July 5, 2013.
“Shortly, the amendments to the Regulations will be Gazetted. We have done all the work in relation to the Attorney General’s Department, and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel,” stated Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, while addressing a public lecture at the University of the West Indies, in St. Andrew, on Thursday, May 8.
The Minister informed that no changes have been made to the amendments, and the measures are to protect the nation’s health. “Even as Jamaica moves, our Caribbean partners, and our friends in Latin America, they are watching us daily because what we do will be important,” he said.
Countries in the region that have banned smoking in public specified places are: Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Suriname.
The current regulations make it illegal for persons to smoke in areas designated as specified public places, which include all enclosed places accessible to the public; public transportation; workplaces; government-owned and occupied buildings; health facilities including pharmacies; sports and recreational facilities for use by the public; educational institutions; areas specifically for use by children; and places of collective use such as bus stops.
Meanwhile, Head of the Conference of the Parties Convention Secretariat, at the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Dr. Haik Nikogosian, said tobacco is a global epidemic, which must be tackled by international efforts.
Dr. Nikogosian, who was delivering a lecture under the theme: “The Politics of Tobacco Control-Challenges and Successes,” noted that the Convention to control tobacco is a major public/international law instrument which has aided many countries to develop their own control legislations to limit the use and effects of tobacco.
The WHO official also outlined that the Convention is the first public health action which now has 178 countries signing on. Jamaica ratified the Convention in 2005.
Dr. Nikogosian urged his audience not to see tobacco as only contributing to non-communicable diseases (NCDS). “Tobacco is a strong contributor to child health, to maternal health, to poverty, and to the development agenda,” he said.
Responding to a question by President of the Senate, Hon. Floyd Morris, on “decoy” means used by cigarette manufacturers to advertise their products, Dr. Nikogosian, said the Convention clearly states that there must be a comprehensive ban on advertisement.
“My advice, Senator, is to pass a law in the Parliament, and to ban advertising completely, both direct, and indirect; and by doing that you would be in compliance with the Convention. That’s the only way to solve this issue,” he stated.