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Ferguson: Smokers to feel full force of the law

Published:Monday | April 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Eighty-year-old Josephine Baker (left) of Rockfort explains her medical needs to Dr Fenton Ferguson, minister of health during the fifth Food For the Poor - Our Lady of the Poor Clinic - 10th anniversary health fair.

 

Declaring that tobacco-related illnesses continue to plague the health sector, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson says he will be moving to ensure that sanctions are fully enforced, once persons breach the recently amended tobacco regulations.

The Government last year announced a nationwide ban on cigarette smoking in public spaces, including bus stops and sporting venues.

The minister, who was speaking with The Gleaner following the Food For the Poor, in collaboration with the Lions Club of New Kingston, annual health fair held at the St Joseph's Hospital in Kingston, said he is impressed with the strides being made so far and is determined to enforce the law.

"We are still in the process of making amendments because I am aware that some persons are still not clear on what is expected. Once we are through, which I expect should be in the next two weeks, I am going to be meeting again with the Police High Command, and I can assure you that they will be using the full force of the law because we are very strident," Ferguson declared.

a huge impact

The minister pointed to statistics which show that non-communicable diseases continue to have a huge impact on the health of the nation. He also said that despite the imposition of the no-smoking ban, there continues to be opposition to it.

"There are some persons in the hospitality industry who believe that they are above and beyond the law and I am encountering opposition from various stakeholders, but I refuse to be daunted," Ferguson said.

- Jodi-Ann Gilpin