Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Gov't bears blame in smoke-linked deaths

Published:Friday | March 13, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

All this talk about Big Tobacco trying to influence government officials is all well and good, Dr Fenton Ferguson, but, you are ignoring the 50-foot gorilla in the room.

The fact of the matter is that present and past government administrations, in allowing this extremely harmful product to be produced and sold, have, in essence, been an accomplice in the deaths of thousands of Jamaicans as a result of cigarette smoke, either directly or indirectly.

From an economic standpoint, it is true that the tobacco industry contributes a significant amount of money, in the form of taxes, to the Government's coffers, and employs a substantial number of persons. However, there is no getting around the inconvenient and tragic truth: it is morally and ethically wrong for the Government to allow the production of cigarettes, in the first place; the sale of cigarettes, in the second place; and the smoking of cigarettes, in the third place.

There is no argument that any government administration can put forward that can justify these three aforementioned points, particularly in light of the numerous diseases and deaths associated with cigarette smoke/smoking and the volumes of scientific and statistical data available that underscore the harmful effects of this product.

PATRICK A. GALLIMORE

Kingston