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Smoking regulations proposal rejected by tobacco control coalition

Published:Monday | February 3, 2014 | 8:49 AM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control is disappointed that the health ministry will be changing some of the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations, which govern the ban on smoking in public spaces.




Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson, disclosed last week that the health ministry has accepted some of the recommendations by a parliamentary committee which reviewed the regulations.



However, Deborah Chen, a board Member of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control, says these changes are a step in the wrong direction.



The Coalition disagrees with the proposals to adjust the fine for a first-time offences, to remove private residences from the list of work places where smoking is banned, and to reduce the size of graphic warning signs on cigarette boxes.



The parliamentary committee had recommended a $5,000 fine for first-time offences, but the health ministry wants a $10,000 fine.



Chen says the coalition believes this is still too low as it does not act as an effective deterrent.



Regarding the size of the graphic health warning on cigarette boxes, Chen, says the 75 per cent coverage should not be reduced to 65 per cent.



She maintains that larger health warnings are more effective in deterring persons from smoking.



She says while the Tobacco Coalition understands the concern about enforcing the smoking ban in homes, it is important that the health of workers in private residences be protected.



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