Jamaica may be best known for illegal marijuana consumption but its tobacco smokers are causing a major health problem too.
Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton is focused on Jamaica’s renewed commitment to tobacco control, as more young people take up the habit as the world faces a ballooning non-communicable (NCDs) disease crisis.
“The challenges to human and environmental health that tobacco presents are well documented and significant. This is the case globally and certainly as we consider the Jamaica situation,” noted Dr Tufton, speaking at a recent high-level Tobacco Free Finance Pledge event, held during the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“Annually more than eight million people lose their lives to tobacco use. In Jamaica, as elsewhere in the world, we have a NCDs epidemic, fuelled in part by tobacco use. More than 70% of deaths in Jamaica annually are linked to NCDs,” he added. There is an alarming rise in the number of teens and young adults smoking not just weed and tobacco but also e-cigarettes as well which are also causing long-term health damage.
This data, he noted, is in addition to what is known of the implications for the planet.
Dr Tufton said: “We have a big job on our hands to preserve human health and the health of the environment from tobacco. I am confident that working together, we can get it done, including through the continued engagement and partnership of players from the finance sector in support of the transition to a net zero world where tobacco has no place,” he added.