a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

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Contact: Dawn Williams, 960. 8293; 817. 4576

KINGSTON, JAMAICA W.I January 20, 2011. Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is an organization which facilitates the Bloomberg Global Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. This organization first awarded The Heart Foundation of Jamaica a two year grant from April 2008-March 2010. This grant was to be executed within the Caribbean region and result in the placement of graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging. Because of the relevance and need for public awareness of health harms from tobacco use, a second grant was awarded for the period April 2010-June 2011. The visit by the overseas project administrators included a review of the Project’s objectives, activities and achievements.

The grant resulted in the establishment of the regional Caribbean Tobacco Control Project (CTCP) which facilitates the Governments of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in placing the picture health warnings on cigarette packaging to show the health damage caused by cigarette smoking or smoke, under the CARICOM cigarette package labelling Standard.

The picture warnings form one of the measures contained in the world’s first public health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), spearheaded by the World Health Organization. The late journalist, John Maxwell, who died from smoking-induced lung cancer, permitted the use of his image for one of the warning labels.

On January 20, 2011 a reception was held to welcome LaToya Armstrong and Bethany Bluett, Officers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids who were visiting Jamaica to audit the second grant previously mentioned. The reception provided an important opportunity for local and international public health and tobacco control stakeholders to discuss collective efforts to support the Minister of Health’s plans to announce a ban on smoking in public places. The group also exchanged ideas on how to promote the fact that a reduction in smoking also reduces the public cost for treating the disabilities and diseases caused by the habit and enhances individual and national productivity as smoke-free workers are healthy contributors to national development.

In attendance were members of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control (JCTC) The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Ministry of Health, the Jamaica Cancer Society, the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, and Reverend Ronald Thwaites, tobacco control advocate.

The JCTC is comprised of the Association of General Practitioners, the Caribbean College of Family Physicians, the Caribbean Public Health Association, the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Cancer Society, the Medical Association of Jamaica and the Nurses Association of Jamaica.

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