JIS News

The National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) continues to advocate for people not to start smoking, as it is the best way of preventing complications that can arise from the unhealthy practice.
Manager for NCDA’s Western Region, Clifton Morris said that the significant health consequences of prolonged tobacco use are well known, and ongoing public education about diseases that smoking causes has ensured that a large percentage of the population is aware of the negative effects.
“What is even more dangerous, is the addictive properties of the nicotine contained in the tobacco products. This combination of carcinogens and nicotine in tobacco (cigarettes) is deadly for anyone who chooses to start smoking and using tobacco regularly,” Mr. Morris said.
He was speaking on behalf of the Executive Director of the NCDA, Michael Tucker, on Monday (May 31) at the St. Ann Health Department’s World No Tobacco Day celebration.
The event, held at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios, saw the Council and the Jamaica Cancer Society collaborating in the effort which focused on the theme, “Real Divas Don’t Smoke”.
He said that NCDA, in collaboration with stakeholders, in particular the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Heart Foundation of Jamaica and Jamaica Cancer Society, provides a significant amount of public education on the negative consequences of smoking.
“Our field Staff gives numerous presentations to various groups and provide the necessary reading material on negative health consequences of tobacco and how, with our assistance, one can quit the habit,” Mr. Morris said.
He further stated that the agency also spearheaded a focused initiative, through the prevention education programme that targeted the school population in Jamaica.
“We are also lobbying the relevant authorities and retailers of cigarettes not to sell them to underage youths,” he informed.
Turning to the country’s women, Mr. Morris said that the gap between men and women who smoke was narrowing, and so the NCDA was specially targeting young women as the risk factors increased.
“The emphasis today is on tobacco and women and we really see that targeting this population is of key interest. They are the child bearers, they are the role models and they are the ones who have the influence in passing on the correct information, so leading by example is one way to go,” he said.
Medical Officer at the St. Ann Health Department, Dr. Carla Hoo, said that the North East Regional Health Authority and the Ministry of Health would remain committed to ensuring the health of the nation despite the hardships.
“We recognise that women are the back bone of our nation and, as such, the issues that we face are of utmost importance. The risks associated with smoking are real and potentially life threatening and the activities here today are designed to increase awareness of these issues,” she said.
On May 31st each year, World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption.

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