a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Health Minister hosts International, Regional and Local Tobacco Control Organizations

<< back to News index

Health Minister hosts International, Regional and Local Tobacco Control OrganizationsHealth Minister hosts International, Regional and Local Tobacco Control Organization.

Trinidad and Tobago Government News

Port of Spain, March 07, 2010: Senator the Honourable Jerry Narace Minister of Health hosted several representatives of international, regional and local tobacco control organizations at the Ministry of Health’s Head Office on March 03, 2010. Those present at the meeting included Ms Lorraine Fry, General Manager of the Non-Smoker’s Rights Association of Canada, Ms Barbara McGah, Project Manager of the Caribbean Tobacco Control Project, and representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society. The meeting was held to facilitate an exchange of learnings regarding tobacco control, including the achievements made by Trinidad and Tobago in implementing tobacco control legislation. The information shared at the meeting will provide guidance on the way forward to all the parties involved.

Ms. Lorraine Fry took the opportunity to congratulate Minister Narace and the citizens of Trinidad & Tobago on the proclamation of parts of the Tobacco Control Act on February 17, 2010, and on achieving such a significant milestone. Ms. Fry noted that Trinidad and Tobago is ahead of many countries in putting things in place for tobacco control and should share experiences with the rest of the Caribbean region. Minister Narace reiterated his ongoing encouragement and support to the rest of the Caribbean countries in developing their own tobacco control legislation. See below for additional information on the Non-Smoker’s Rights Association of Canada, the Caribbean Tobacco Control Project and the Bloomberg Foundation.

NON-SMOKER’S RIGHT ASSOCIATION

Ms Lorraine Fry is the General Manager of the Non-Smoker’s Rights Association (NSRA) of Canada. Previous positions held include:

  • Chair, Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco
  • General Manager, Smoking and Health Action Foundation

The NSRA is a Canadian voluntary non-profit health organization that has worked exclusively in the field of tobacco control for over 30 years. Its mission is to promote public health by eliminating illness and death caused by tobacco, including second-hand smoke. The association has helped bring about a sea of change in Canadian attitudes towards the tobacco industry and its deadly products. Notable achievements include:

  • Successful campaigns to obtain public smoking by-laws in cities from St. John's to Calgary. As early as 1977, Toronto Mayor David Crombie referred to the NSRA as "the most impressive and intelligent lobby I have ever known."
  • In close co-operation with the Canadian Cancer Society and other groups, forceful campaigning that finally led to passage of the federal Tobacco Products Control Act in 1988, including a ban on tobacco ads and the right to impose health warnings on cigarette packs, which until then had been voluntary.
  • Despite intense tobacco industry lobbying, the NSRA convinced the federal government to accept a world precedent-setting warning system, involving stark warnings that take up 30% of the front and back panels of cigarette packs. Even before the warnings came into effect in Canada, NSRA staff were busy explaining the system to health groups in other countries, leading to similar regulations in Poland, Australia, South Africa, Thailand and Singapore.
  • Following the Supreme Court of Canada's 1995 decision overturning much of the Tobacco Products Control Act, the NSRA spearheaded efforts to obtain replacement legislation from the new Liberal government. After months of heated debate, the Tobacco Act was finally passed in the spring of 1997, reinstating the advertisement ban (except for sponsorships) and giving the federal government the right to regulate the contents of cigarettes.
  • More recently, the NSRA played a leadership role in setting up the National "Tobacco OR Kids" Campaign, which is pushing for a Royal Commission on the tobacco epidemic and for major regulatory changes and policy initiatives to prevent the supply of cigarettes to kids and to reduce adolescent demand for cigarettes.
  • The association has also been involved in campaigns to obtain provincial tobacco-control legislation, notably the Ontario Tobacco Control Act in 1994 and the Quebec Tobacco Act in 1998.

The NSRA has been awarded the World Health Organization's Gold Medal for tobacco control, as well as the Canadian Cancer Society's Award of Merit for creative and forceful leadership in the cause of cancer prevention.

THE CARIBBEAN TOBACCO CONTROL PROJECT

PROJECT DETAILS:

  • The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (for The Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control) applied for and was successful in receiving a grant from The Bloomberg Global Initiative in April 2008
  • Project title - "Introducing a Picture-Based Health Warning System on Cigarette Packages"
  • Duration of project - 24 months • Start date of project - APRIL 1, 2008
  • Project scope Regional – The Caribbean – including Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago • Project outreach - The population of the 4 countries involved in the project

PROJECT OBJECTIVES:

The Project’s primary objective is to assist in achieving a strong CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) cigarette labeling standard, and to ensure implementation of the standard or equally strong requirements in four target countries: Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.

BLOOMBERG INITIATIVE TO REDUCE TOBACCO USE - GRANTS PROGRAM

In 2006, Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City, launched a $125 million global initiative to reduce tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries. The Initiative was extended with a new $250 million commitment in 2008. Other funders have also made contributions to the Initiative. The four major objectives of the Bloomberg Initiative are:

  • To refine and optimize tobacco control programs to help smokers stop using tobacco and to prevent children from starting.
  • To support public sector efforts to pass and enforce key laws and implement effective policies, including taxing cigarettes, preventing smuggling, altering the image of tobacco and protecting workers from exposure to second hand smoke.
  • To support advocates’ efforts to educate communities about the harms of tobacco and to enhance tobacco control activities that work towards a tobacco -free world.
  • To develop a rigorous system to monitor the status of global tobacco use.

<< back to News index