Comprehensive legislation is slated to be tabled in the House of Representatives shortly to address the devastating effects of tobacco consumption in Jamaica.
The Tobacco Control 2020 Bill will, among other things, impose restrictions on the marketing of tobacco products as well as prohibit the sale to children.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who made the disclosure, said that the legislation is now at committee stage “and I am happy to report that we are well advanced in that process”.
“I expect over the next month, six weeks maybe, to table the comprehensive Bill, and I urge my colleagues to quickly pass this Bill for the protection of the Jamaican people and to reduce the cost of treatment,” he said.
Dr. Tufton was making his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 3.
In outlining some of the provisions of the Bill, Dr. Tufton informed that in addition to curtailing the marketing of tobacco products and prohibiting sales to children, it will also prohibit the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems such as e-cigarettes in public spaces.
“I am particularly keen about that because in our school system we have observed a trend that our students are now using these electronic cigars, looking like a pen and a pencil, and it is corrupting them in more ways than one. So, I look forward to the legislation being very strong on that and support for reducing dependence,” he said.
Dr. Tufton said that the legislation will significantly manage the risk of tobacco consumption both directly and indirectly.
He noted that tobacco consumption, whether first- or second-hand smoke, kills eight million persons worldwide each year, costing the public health system billions of dollars for treatment.
“In fact, tobacco is second only to hypertension as a cause of mortality worldwide. This cost is borne by all of us, not to mention the pain and suffering,” he said.