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Cigarette company not surprised by ban on public smoking

Published:Tuesday | June 25, 2013 | 5:22 PM

Tobacco company, Carreras Limited, has released a statement saying it is not surprised by the decision of the Health Minister, Dr Fenton Ferguson, to announce a ban on smoking in public places effective July 15.



The minister has called a press conference for tomorrow to outline further details on the announced ban.



“We are not surprised nor do we view with trepidation, today's announcement by the minister,” said a Carreras spokesperson in the statement this afternoon.



“We were only disappointed in the approach by the minister to seemingly position the regulatory agenda of the government as a fight, when we are on record of supporting his move towards instituting regulations,” the spokesperson said.



READ: Gov't to ban smoking in public places as of July 15



But the Carreras official says when the minister speaks tomorrow, he should place equal focus on instituting strong regulatory and legislative arrangements to disrupt the illicit trade in cigarettes.



According to Carreras, the new regulations announced today will have no meaning if the estimated two billion sticks of illegal cigarettes continue to enter the Jamaican market.



Meanwhile, Carreras says it appreciates the need to introduce the ban on smoking in public places and the fact that under the new regulation adult smokers can still be facilitated in suitably designated areas in business establishments.



“The fact is, we market and distribute a legal product, and we are the first to highlight that the consumption of our products may pose health risks,” Carreras said.



The company spokesperson says Carreras has a long and solid record of strong corporate citizenry in Jamaica, employing thousands of Jamaicans directly and indirectly as the third largest tax-paying entity contributing in excess of J$11 billion towards the government coffers last year.



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