Heartfelt delight at move
A step in the right direction. That’s how a senior officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation described Government’s coming ban on smoking in public places. Nadia Adams, the foundation’s Tobacco Control Project Officer said, “The ban is a very good initiative to help move in the direction of having the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control requirements met.”The coming legislation was a step in the right direction, she added and hoped that it would act as a catalyst in achieving the next step which would be the implementation of a Graphic Health Warning Standard for cigarette packing. With that standard, at least 50 per cent of a cigarette box will have a picture clearly illustratrating how negatively smoking impacts of a persons’ health.The initiative is a part of the Bloomberg Global Initiative Best Practice for Graphic Health Warnings on Cigarette Packages.
The Bloomberg Caribbean project aims to achieve a strong CARICOM cigarette labeling standard and to ensure the implementation of the standard in four target countries namely Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana.In terms of having the law enforced locally Adams said she would like to remain positive. “Based on the outline presented by the authorities it is a good step, plus we have Canada as a major guide to follow as we weather the challenges and create a smooth transition as we press on with the implementation,” Adams said.She also called the move a preventative step, noting that though there were no new concrete statistics of how many people in Barbados do smoke, the statistics had shown that smokers represented two per cent of the adult population.Adams added that even though the numbers were low, it was important to be proactive and not to wait until there was a high percentage of smokers like in some other Caribbean countries.The foundation intends to now focus on education and patrols. “We have started to educate the public in the hope to garner support for the graphic health warning which is being used in other regions and has proven to be a deterrent as persons see the risk to not only the smoker, but to family and others through second hand smoke,” Adams said.