Health Official Calls For Ban on Public Smoking


Medical officer of health, Dr. Herbert Elliott, has called for a ban on smoking in public, especially at sporting events, where secondary smoke can be absorbed into an athlete’s body.
Dr. Elliot, who was addressing a meeting of the Rotary Club of Kingston at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday (Jan. 3), said athletes have tested positive for marijuana, after hanging out with friends, who had been smoking.
Dr. Elliot, who is also a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Medical and Anti-Doping Commission, said that the Anti-Doping Federation takes a tough stance against excuses on how drugs get into an athlete’s body.
“The fact is, we have a system in sports where if it’s in your body, we don’t care how it got there. It’s your responsibility to keep it out. It’s harsh but that is the only way we can operate,” he pointed out.
In the meantime, he said that Jamaicans can have confidence that the country’s athletes are clean.
He noted that because of their outstanding performance on the world stage, Jamaican athletes are tested frequently and since September last year, they have been tested more than 15 times. “Our athletes are subjected to a great deal of testing, and so therefore, you can have faith when they perform that they are clean,” Dr. Elliott stated.
He noted however, that the testing does not come cheaply, adding that the “Jamaican government is going to spend more that $40 million in carrying out our programmes.”
A Montreal laboratory has offered reduce rates of US$350 per test, while testing kits cost 40 Swiss Francs per test.
Dr. Elliot was representing Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Olivia Grange at the Rotary Club meeting.

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