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August 21, 2014
Star News


Health minister focuses on advertising, sponsorship of tobacco

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says among the major areas of focus for implementation as part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is Article 13, which speaks to the matter of advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

Dr Ferguson was speaking Tuesday during a stakeholder consultation at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston as part of this week's needs Assessment exercise being undertaken jointly with officials of the Convention Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

"The banning of direct and indirect sponsorship, advertising and promotion is of great concern, especially given the increase in the prevalence of young people initiating smoking at a very early age. The latest surveys from the National Council on Drug Abuse are confirming this," Dr Ferguson said.

He says another important area is the matter of the illicit trade which is covered under Article 15 of the FCTC. "We are concerned about the illicit trade in tobacco products and the impact it has on our economy and also on the health of our people," he said.

The minister pointed out that Jamaica is also moving to put in place comprehensive Tobacco Control Legislation and a National Coordinating Mechanism to move the process of compliance forward in a systematic way.

The needs assessment exercise is coordinated jointly by the convention secretariat, along with countries that are parties to the convention, in order to identify their specific technical and financial needs and the gaps which restrain their fulfilling the objectives under the terms of the FCTC.

During the week, discussions will be undertaken with key stakeholders, including government ministries, international organisations and development partners.

The team is in Jamaica until tomorrow to examine the country's progress towards achieving the objectives of the Articles within the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Jamaica signed the FCTC in 2003 and ratified the treaty in 2005.

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