JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health will continue to highlight the restriction on smoking in public places, as the rights of non-smokers must not be infringed.
  • This was emphasised by Legal Officer in the Ministry, Sheryl Dennis, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (May 27), as the country prepares to observe World No Tobacco Day on May 31 under the theme: ‘Stop the illicit Trade of Tobacco Products’.
  • Ms. Dennis pointed out that under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), there are obligations the country is mandated to uphold.

The Ministry of Health will continue to highlight the restriction on smoking in public places, as the rights of non-smokers must not be infringed.

This was emphasised by Legal Officer in the Ministry, Sheryl Dennis, at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, today (May 27), as the country prepares to observe World No Tobacco Day on May 31 under the theme: ‘Stop the illicit Trade of Tobacco Products’.

Ms. Dennis pointed out that under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), there are obligations the country is mandated to uphold.

The FCTC is a legally binding treaty negotiated by the 192-member states of the World Health Organization (WHO). To date, some 180 countries and regional organizations, including Jamaica, are parties to the FCTC.

The Legal Officer said the Government, through the Ministry of Health, is acutely aware of the harm the use of tobacco and the resultant exposure can have on innocent non-smoking Jamaicans.

Ms. Dennis explained that the Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, as Minister of Health, was mindful of his responsibility to protect the citizenry and despite public outcry against the restriction, ensured that protective legislation was carefully crafted and enacted.

“It’s not a ban on smoking. By virtue of the implementation of the regulation you do not have the right to exercise your right to the detriment of others. We are (mindful) of the harmful effects of second-hand smoking and the fact that people generally want to enjoy their public spaces freely,” she said.

The Legal Officer pointed out that the ban applies to public places where people are likely to gather, and therefore the Ministry was duty bound to enforce and protect the citizens of the country.

“We don’t want to just implement our obligations under the FCTC, but we want to, as a nation and as a Government, protect the health of all Jamaicans,” she added.

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica will host a number of activities around the theme on World No Tobacco Day.