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Jamaica reaps benefits of smoking ban

Published:Saturday | May 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson says the country is already seeing the benefits of the promulgation of the tobacco regulations under the Jamaica Public Health Act.

"Jamaica is better for that decision. Already, we have seen in our public health clinics and hospitals reductions in admissions for certain kinds of diseases or patients who would normally have been affected by tobacco smoke in public places," Ferguson said.

He was speaking at the National Schools 'No Tobacco' Poster and DJ competition, held at the Sts Peter and Paul Church Hall on May 30, under the theme: 'Smoke Free Public Spaces, It's Your Right, Protect It'.

Ferguson noted that his ministry is also very pleased with the support received for the passage of the legislation.

"While we had persons opposing initially, the surveys confirm that 83 per cent of the population was supportive of those regulations," Ferguson said.

The regulations took effect on July 15, 2013.

World No Tobacco Day is being celebrated today.

"This is a special day on the calendar for all of us, but more so for young people. I know the pressure you often times undergo from your peers and they call you all types of names, because you do not fall in line. But it is not weak people who are needed to lead this war. You have to have strength and character and ensure that when the loud mouths come around, that you can reject them with confidence," he encouraged.