"WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control"
This year’s observance of World No Tobacco Day is focusing on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Jamaica is a signatory to the Convention. We ratified the Convention in 2005. The Ministry is well advanced in the drafting of the Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations which will represent, when it is completed, a major step forward in discouraging smoking in public places.
The Government has an indispensible role to play in protecting the health of the people of Jamaica. This is in keeping with one of the national priorities contained in the National Development Plan Vision 2030 to maintain a stable and healthy population. The Jamaican government is not alone in its commitment to the Convention on Tobacco Control. Our position reflects the concern of the international community about the devastating world-wide health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Scientific evidence has unequivocally established that tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke impacts negatively on the health of individuals and families. There is also clear scientific evidence that prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke leads to adverse health and developmental conditions for children. The burden on the health sector cannot be disputed. According to the World Health Organization cancer rates are expected to increase by 50 percent to 15 million new cases by 2020. The World Cancer Report indicates that in many countries, more than a quarter of deaths are attributable to cancer. In 2000, 5.3 million men and 4.7 million women developed a malignant tumour and altogether 6.2 million died from the disease. Cancer and other lifestyle related illnesses have become a major public health concern for developing countries such as Jamaica.
The convention requires State Parties to establish effective legislative, executive, administrative and other measures to protect persons from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. It is also important that as a Ministry we work with non state actors to provide the necessary support to persons to help them to make good choices and also to support those who wish to quit. The National Council on Drug Abuse has a helpline for these persons – 1888-991-4244. I encourage you to call to get the help you need.
It is hoped that this year’s observance of World No Tobacco Day will direct attention to the Global framework that has been established to assist State Parties to advance the health agenda in their respective jurisdictions.
Hon. Rudyard Spencer
Minister of Health