Continue campaign for reduction in tobacco consumption – CARICOM Secretariat Health official urges

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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) – Programme Manager for Health Sector Development within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat , Dr. Karen Boyle, on Monday, 31 May reiterated the Region’s commitment to the fight to ensure that it is a smoke-free zone.

Speaking at a webinar organised by the Pan American Organisation (PAHO), the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) webinar ahead of World No Tobacoo Day 2022, Dr. Boyle called on the CARICOM Member States to implement Article 13 of the World Health Organisation (WHO) World No Tobacoo Day 2022 by placing a complete ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.

Lauding the organisers for their commitment to a smoke-free region, Dr. Boyle expressed confidence in what the Community can achieve with the support of international partners and the renewed commitment of Member States.

Read Dr. Boyle’s presentation below:

World Health No Tobacco Day 2022: Protecting the Environment

Good morning to my fellow panelist and participants. It is with great pleasure that that I join my voice with yours as a representative from the CARICOM Secretariat to reiterate our commitment in this ongoing fight to ensure our region is a smoke free region.

At this time every year, we join the WHO to remember and honor, countries, organisations and the people who demonstrate their commitment to freeing our environment from the added pollution derived from first, second or third hand smoke. This year we focus on the threat of the tobacco industry not only to the health of people but to our environment.

With an annual greenhouse gas contribution of 84 megatons of carbon Dioxide equivalent the tobacco industry contributes to climate change and reduces climate resilience, wasting resources and damaging ecosystems. It is estimated that about 3.5 million hectares of land are destroyed for tobacco growing every year. Tobacco growing contributes to deforestation and soil degradation.

We must continue to campaign for the reduction in tobacco consumption as this is a key step in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Smoke-free Caribbean mandate 

I take this opportunity to remind Member States of our commitment In September 2017, when our Ministers of Health endorsed the PAHO Strategy and Plan of Action to Strengthen Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas 2018-2022,

Our ultimate goal is for a 100% smoke-free environment throughout the Americas by – NO not the next ten years, but this year- 2022.

CARICOM Member states, as parties to the WHO FCTC have committed to implementing its measures within the first few years of signing the treaty. 

Yet there are still 7 countries that are yet to implement comprehensive smoke-free legislation.

Additionally, there are serious gaps as it relates to enforcement in the countries which have implemented smoke-free legislation. 

Member States are urged to adhere to their obligations in keeping with the regional commitments and international obligations. This is 2022 and we still have a way to go.

In our efforts toward achieving smoke-free spaces, Member States are urged to implement Article 13 of the WHO FCTC by placing a complete ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. 

Our very own CROSQ is in the process of preparing a regional standard for tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship to meet the requirements of Article 13.

I take this opportunity to congratulate The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the Caribbean Public Health Law Forum (CPHLF) and the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Law and Health Research Unit (LHRU) for jointly organizing and  hosting this webinar entitled: A Smoke-Free Caribbean – A Win/Win for Health and the Environment 

I wish you all success in achieving the objective of this webinar –to launch six resources, including four intersectoral policy briefs and two country case studies. These will serve as tools and template to help Caribbean countries in developing smoke-free policies and legislation.
I thank you all for your continued commitment to our regional efforts and I firmly believe that with the support from our International Development partners, and the renewed commitment of member states- we can still achieve have more MS with legislation in place this year- 2022.

Best wishes to you and Thank You.

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