Smoking ban gets support in MoBay

Smoking ban gets support in MoBay

Thursday, August 08, 2013

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson's imposed ban on smoking in public places appears to have strong support in western Jamaica, even as the minister is under fire for his stance in some quarters, including at least one member of his People's National Party (PNP).

Junior Industry, Investment and Commerce Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, who is also the Member of Parliament for West Central St James lauded Dr Ferguson on his firm stance against smoking in public places.

"I congratulate you for standing up and taking the bull by the horn and I know you are taking some flak for it. But I want to encourage you and to let you know that there are many standing behind you," Ffolkes Abrahams argued.

" I want to congratulate you on your courage and on your standard because righteousness exhalts a nation and if more people would stand up for what is right, this nation would be a better place- a much different place."

In the same breath, Dr Delroy Fray, Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Cornwall Regional Hospital, also assured Dr Ferguson that the Cornwall Regional Hospital is fully supportive of his position on the smoking ban.

"Minister I want to reassure you that the Cornwall Regional Hospital and the entire Western Regional Health Authority is in full support of your initiative. I remember as a young surgeon I amputated a man's leg in his 40s, it was due to smoking. Two years later the other leg was amputated. And 10 years later I saw him in a ward and he lost an arm. There is no question that the initiative you have taken is for the betterment of this country, we thank you very much," Dr Fray said.

Meanwhile, Dr Ferguson has renewed his call on the public to support the ban on smoking in specified public places, arguing that tobacco use contributes largely to non- communicable diseases.

" I have to stand firm on my commitment to protect the health of children, our workers, non- smokers and even smokers, as tobacco exposure contributes to a large extent to NCDs, (Non-Communicable Diseases) in particular cancer. I urge you to join me in this movement, let your voices be heard and make it your responsibility to protect your right to a smoke free environment and therefore good health," the health minister appealed.

He was speaking at the Cornwall Regional Hospital last week following a tour of the refurbished dietary department and the commissioning of the standby generator. The health minister also participated in a ground breaking exercise for the Haemodialysis Unit.

All three projects, Dr Ferguson said, were funded by the National Health Fund at a cost of $92million.

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