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Thwaites supports proposal to ban public smoking

Published:Sunday | June 9, 2013 | 5:52 PM

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites is publicly throwing support behind a proposal to make smoking in public spaces illegal.



Speaking to patrons gathered at the Jamaica National Building Society’s booth at the annual cancer fundraiser, Relay for Life last night, the Education Minister described persons who defend the right to smoke as “merchants of death”.



Reflecting on the death of his own father from cancer of the oesophagus in 1973 after several years of smoking, Minister Thwaites, who is also a fervent advocate against smoking, said the support of Corporate Jamaica is important to strengthening national efforts to reduce smoking and called for corporate companies, such as JNBS, to help rally support against cigarette use.



He says many children, in particular, are at risk of developing severe health problems as they are being encouraged to smoke early and are being provided with cigarettes that have been spiked with other addictive substances.



Quoting statistics from the 2010 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson last month pointed out that 40.4 per cent of 13-15 year olds have smoked at least once; while 19.4 per cent of children who have ever smoked were under 10 years old.



The health minister is expected to address the issue of smoking further when he makes his presentation in parliament this week, during the sectoral debates.



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