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Tobacco Control Bill under review, says Tufton

Thursday, July 20, 2017

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Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton says a comprehensive Tobacco Control Bill has been developed and is under review.

Making his contribution to a private member's motion brought by Member of Parliament for Kingston Central Ronald Thwaites on public health issues arising from tobacco and ganja use, in the House of Representatives on July 18, Dr Tufton said the comprehensive legislation seeks to address critical matters which have not been addressed under the existing Tobacco Control Regulations.

These, he said, include: Regulating the interactions of Government officials with the tobacco industry; and regulating price and tax measures in a manner that will effectively contribute to the reduction of tobacco consumption.

Other focus areas of the Bill include: Testing and measurement of the contents and emissions of tobacco products and provisions for the disclosure of toxic substances to the public; full prohibition on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including a ban on point-of-sale tobacco displays; and Jamaica's commitment to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products.

“The Bill will also prohibit sale of all forms of tobacco products to and by minors. The Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA) does not prohibit the sale of tobacco products in general (including electronic nicotine delivery systems) to and by minors,” Dr Tufton said.

He noted that the current provision restrictively references cigarettes, cigars, cheroots and cigarillos.

The minister added that attempts were being made by the Office of the Children's Advocate to amend the CCPA to accord with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requirements.

“Therefore priority areas for the Government include: full implementation of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; enacting a comprehensive tobacco control legislation; and reducing demand on tobacco products through increased taxes,” Dr Tufton said.

He noted that multisectoral collaborations on the drafting of the Bill have been completed and a report is to be submitted to each of the portfolio ministries for their final comments.

The ministry has also engaged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to lead the process, which involves deliberations among legal personnel from the various ministries.

A Cabinet submission is to be developed in relation to this legislation.

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