THE Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) hosted its third annual free students' forum entitled "No Joking, No Smoking' last Wednesday at the Girls Guide headquarters on Waterloo Road.
The day's activies were part of the JCS's February focus on healthy lifestyles with an emphasis on a smoke-free environment.
The JCS is a member of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control and works very closely with its partners in advocating for the protection of Jamaican citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in workplaces, public transport, and other public spaces, and to lobby to enact comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising and promotion.
"Data from the National Council on Drug Abuse, Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2010, shows that 17 per cent of Children currently smoke -- 21.5 per cent males and 14.3 per cent females. Twenty per cent of children start smoking before the age of 10, up from 18.7 per cent in 2006," shared Yulit Gordon, executive director of the Jamaica Cancer Society. Gordon opened the forum to over 300 students from Campion College; Immaculate Conception High School; Jamaica College; St Hugh's High School; St Andrew's High School for Girls, Donald Quarrie High; Mona High; Penwood High; St Joseph's High; Holy Trinity High; Jose Marti High; Waterford High; and Cumberland High.
Presenters at the forum were: Milton Pinnock, president, Caribbean Public Health Association, presented on 'No Joking, No Smoking — Serious Ting'; Dr Aldyth Buckland, general practitioner, presented on 'Tampering With The Brakes'; Alexis Goffe, counselling psychologist, presented on 'No Joking, No Smoking'; Dr Tanya Foster, consultant internist, National Chest Hospital, presented on 'The Ugly Truth of Cigarette Smoking'; and Dr Tracey-Ann Brown, Oriental physician, presented on 'Stop Smoking Now — An Acupuncture Approach'.
The presenters shared with TEENage that they were happy to be a part of this forum. They were particularly pleased with the high number of participants and the level of enthusiasm from the students and the responsiveness to the content presented.
The JCS will engage more TEENs in the smoking dicussion on Kick Butts Day (March 20). Kick Butts Day is a day of activism that will seek to empower our young students to stand up, speak out, and seize control against tobacco smoking.
"Tobacco smoking has been clinically identified as a risk factor for all types of cancer, heart disease, and other Non-Communicable Diseases. According to the World Health Organisation, Tobacco use kills 15,000 people per day, 625 per hour, 1,000 daily from second-hand smoke — that is the equivalent of 27 plane crashes (Airbus 380) per day.
It is therefore of paramount importance, to convey the right information to our young people so that they can make wise choices regarding their health and their future. We are working on it. We would like to stage one in Montego Bay and one in Mandeville," Gordon further shared.