Big Tobacco's stealthy ads
THE EDITOR, Sir:The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) notes with concern the recent advertising campaign by the tobacco industry in the print and electronic media in relation to the Tobacco Control Regulations (2013). Advertising by the tobacco industry is banned in the electronic media - with good reason! And until recently, there was a voluntary agreement by the tobacco industry in relation to the print media. This has detrimentally fallen by the wayside.
The tobacco industry is now very disingenuously placing these advertisements under the guise of providing information about the tobacco-control regulations, while in reality it is using the opportunity to promote products which kill at least half of its regular users.
Our children are exposed to, and are influenced by, these methods of advertising, and they should be protected from being encouraged to start this harmful, life-threatening and addictive habit.
The NCDA Global Youth Tobacco Survey showed that 59.8 per cent of youth aged 15 years and under had seen pro-cigarette ads on billboards in the past 30 days and 54 per cent had seen ads in newspapers or magazines. The majority of smokers start smoking before the legal age of 18 years old. The younger persons are when they begin smoking, the more likely they are to become addicted to nicotine.
The Government of Jamaica has a responsibility to protect the health of the public and we stand by the minister and his team at the Ministry of Health as they steadfastly continue to implement the Tobacco Control Regulations (2013). One of the objectives of these regulations is to protect smokers and non-smokers from exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. In other countries where smoking in public places has been banned, there has been a significant reduction in tobacco-related illnesses.
We look forward, in the near future, to legislation in keeping with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which will ban advertising, promotion and sponsorship by the tobacco industry as we work towards stemming death and disability from this major risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic lung disease.