The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) and its partner, the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, have welcomed the efforts by the Government to enact comprehensive legislation in 2019 to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships.
Executive Director of the JCS, Yulit Gordon, said that the long-awaited law would boost the country’s efforts to discourage tobacco use. Statistics show that legislation of this nature is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the demand for tobacco products, and this is recognised as a tobacco control best practice,” she noted.
She was addressing a Think Tank held on Tuesday (November 13) at the JIS head office in Kingston.
Health Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in announcing the legislative measure recently, said “it will require greater warning labels, which will do a number of things to get consumers clear in their minds what the consequences of consuming tobacco would be”.
Mrs. Gordon said that while there has been some compliance with the Tobacco Regulations of 2013 there continue to be breaches in relation to smoke-free environments.
“There have been reports of smoking in public places, and there are some establishments that still do not have the required ‘No Smoking’ signs displayed. There needs to be greater enforcement of the regulations if we are to realise the full health benefits,” she said. Mrs. Gordon said that such legislation is important as Jamaica continues to battle the effects of tobacco use on the health of the population.
She noted that the health consequences of tobacco use and its contribution to the development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death in Jamaica, are well documented.
She argued that treating the effects of tobacco use is a major financial burden to the country and impacts national development through loss of productivity. Mrs. Gordon pointed out that the number-one cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking, with cigarette and other tobacco products directly causing approximately 85 per cent of all lung cancer cases. November is being observed as Lung Cancer Awareness Month under the theme ‘Quit Now…Your Lungs Depend on it’.