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JIS News

A public education campaign, aimed at making Spanish Town a smoking-free zone, was launched recently at Cecil’s Restaurant in the town.
The campaign, a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Health and the Smoke-Free Action Coalition (SAC), will involve the distribution of literature, which will serve as guidelines for a smoke-free environment and increase awareness of the deadly effects of the habit.
Initially, the activity will focus on the enforcement of no-smoking orders in public buildings in areas between the former Registrar General’s Department and Mother’s Restaurant at 19 Wellington Street.
Dr. Eva Lewis-Fuller, Director of the Health Promotions and Protection Division in the Ministry of Health, said the SAC would be inspecting business places, public transport and enclosed buildings such as bars, restaurants and clubs to determine the prevalence of smoking.
“We would like buildings to be totally smoke-free and that is what we are aiming for and we hope that many other communities will see the need and start other groups like the Smoke-Free Action Coalition, and if they do, we will support them at the Ministry of Health,” she said.
Dr. Lewis-Fuller informed that the government has been enacting legislation to minimize the risks faced by smokers and non-smokers in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
Dr. Knox Hagley, Cardiologist and Head of the Jamaica Coalition on Tobacco Control, said that there were many health risks associated with smoking, including cancers.
“Tobacco smoking, and in particular cigarette smoking, is the second leading cause of deaths globally. All cigarettes, no matter what the makers tell you, all cigarettes have the potential to cause you to become unhealthy,” he pointed out.
Chief Executive Officer at the Spanish Town Hospital, David Dobson, in his remarks, praised the efforts of the SAC and expressed the hope that the initiative would help to reduce the number of persons treated at the hospital for cigarette or tobacco-related diseases.
He noted further that, “we have a problem to afford health ..if more persons used the accumulated money spent on cigarettes, they would be able to afford the health insurance premiums.”