Jamaica reports decline in asthma admissions following smoking ban

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday October 31, 2013, CMC – Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says there has been a 20 per cent reduction in asthmatic admissions to hospitals since the imposition of the no smoking policy in specified public spaces.

The Minister, who was speaking at the official launch of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s (HFJ) annual ‘Run for your Heart’ event on Tuesday, urged Jamaicans to continue supporting the ban, noting that the country will see the gains in terms having a healthier society.

“Within another couple of years, you will see, as has happened in Northern Ireland and other countries, less heart attack, less strokes; and this is not at any big cost…all I ask of Jamaica is for support, that’s all I’m asking.”

He said efforts against tobacco advertising and promotion will also be intensified in accordance with Article 13 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The Health Minister reiterated that the move to impose the ban was borne out of his “commitment to the people of Jamaica, to the children of Jamaica, to the workers of Jamaica, to the non-smokers and the smokers themselves. It is our view that we too have a right. We are not saying persons can’t smoke, all we are saying is ‘you must not smoke in some specified places.”

The regulations’ are consistent with the Government’s 2013/14 strategic priority focus on human capital development in relation to health care.

The ban was imposed on July 15, with the implementation of the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations 2013. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)