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Published:Wednesday | December 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Pearnel Charles Jr

Be careful of third-hand smoke

Jamaicans are being warned about the dangers of third-hand smoke, which is an emerging concern in public health regarding tobacco use.

Third-hand smoke is defined as residual tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished. Senior medical officer (SMO) at the National Chest Hospital, Dr Terry Baker, said that third-hand smoke presents risks that were not previously identified in medical research.

"Information about third-hand smoke is relatively new and many people are unaware of it," she noted.

According to Dr Baker, third-hand smoke is the tobacco residue that is left behind in rooms, hair and vehicles and on drapery, curtains, bedding, clothing and other surfaces. "This is residue from cigarettes, cigars and any tobacco product, and the concern is that this residue mixes with normal indoor substances and pollutants, and forms very toxic chemicals," she explained.

"It is now not just a matter of inhaling these chemicals, but the chemicals, having been deposited on surfaces, stick around for a very long time. You can enter a room or a house that has been vacant for a very long time and you can tell that people who smoke used to live in there, because smoke seemingly has permeated every corner and crevice of the room,"Dr Baker said.

She added that the residue that has been deposited becomes very sticky, which is the nature of nicotine.

'Probation officers are front-line soldiers'

State minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, has called on probation officers to begin seeing themselves as a major part of the nation's national security machinery.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the Probation Aftercare Officers' Staff Association at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church in St Ann last Thursday, the state minister said the work being done by members of the group is key to the Government's crime-fighting strategy.

"Probation officers are a significant part of the overarching national security policy and strategy to create safer communities. You are the front-line soldiers," Senator Charles told the officers.

He said the ministry is aware of the challenges that probation officers face while carrying out their work, and noted that serious efforts are being made to have them addressed, beginning with the reclassification of the officers.

"We can never and will never be able, as a country, to appreciate the work that you do. It is not easy. I know that you risk your life. I know that your family is very concerned when you go out and knock on doors and you don't know what is behind them," Charles said.

"I think we have done some good work, so far, with the reclassification. We are making strides and we are moving in the right direction," the state minister noted.

4-H, NCU on drive to train youth in technical, vocational education

The Jamaica 4-H Clubs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Northern Caribbean University (NCU) to facilitate the recruitment and training of youth in technical and vocational education.

In the initial stage, the partnership will focus on supporting and strengthening 4-H clubs to offer training based on the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica Levels 1 and 2. It is anticipated that the output from this will see an improvement in youth employability and a consistent and competitive workforce.

At the signing ceremony, held on Monday at the Jamaica 4-H Clubs national headquarters in Kingston, executive director of the agency, Dr Ronald Blake, said the partnership will advance the objectives of both organisations to contribute to youth development.

"At the heart of this MOU, we will be ensuring that we have more educated young people joining the ranks in our agricultural sector, not only as professionals working in the various agencies, but also as technicians working as farming practitioners in the field," he said.