The Ministry of Health is to receive technical support from the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) Secretariat to accelerate plans to enforce regulations under the Framework.
The Convention Secretariat, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and WHO, will provide technical support on the areas identified as priorities for strengthening the implementation of the Convention in Jamaica. Some of the priority areas include:
- Full implementation of a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising
- Promotion and sponsorship
- Enacting a comprehensive tobacco control legislation and
- Reducing demand on tobacco products through increased taxes.
In welcoming the support of the Convention Secretariat, Minister of Health, Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton said “this assistance will help to strengthen our efforts towards creating a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Legislation, FCTC Implementation Bill, that will address the provisions under the WHO FCTC . This Bill will be complimented by a comprehensive Communication campaign to sensitize all stakeholders involved”
The Convention Secretariat has structured a network of Knowledge Hubs that are able to assist in the implementation of many articles of the Convention. Jamaica will be also be able to access support from these Knowledge hubs. Currently there are Knowledge Hubs on legal challenges, surveillance, smokeless tobacco, waterpipes, tobacco taxation and international cooperation. A new Knowledge Hub will also be established on preventing tobacco industry interference, in line with Article 5.3 of the Convention.
Jamaica signed on September 24, 2003 and then ratified the WHO FCTC, which is legally binding. In keeping with the National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs in Jamaica 2013 to 2018, Jamaica continues to scale up implementation of the WHO FCTC in keeping with our obligations.
The Ministry of Health continues to enforce the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013 and its amendments 2014 covering Article 8, 9,10 and 11. The Regulations addresses: 3 of 7 core non price demand reduction measures: Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke – Article 8; Regulation of tobacco product disclosures – Article 9 and 10 and Packaging and labeling of tobacco products- Article 11.The increase in tobacco taxes by 21.4% from $14 per stick to $17 per stick will bring into compliance with article 6.