Inniss: Smoke fight not over
MINISTER OF HEALTH Donville Inniss said he would not be sacrificing the health of the nation for the benefit of those concerned about their “financial bottom line”.
Speaking at a special Sabbath Service at Breath Of Life Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Whitehall, St Michael, yesterday commemorating the public ban on smoking in public places, Inniss said it had been “a long battle” which was not over yet.
“It has not been an easy task and let me say the battle is not over.
“Every day we are bombarded with pressure by those who have a vested interest in maintaining their financial bottom line but as the Minister [of Health], I certainly cannot concentrate on that, I have a responsibility to the wider society at large,” he said.
He said the ban was part of a wider initiative to focus on preventative health care as 65 per cent of the $400 million health budget was spent on “preventable” non-communicable diseases.
“It would be irresponsible of me as a minister and a politician to sit by and watch so many young men and women conduct themselves in ways no tin their own self-interest and not do something about it.
“This is why it is not only about the prohibition of smoking. We have also banned the sale of cigarettes to minors and focussed on nutrition dynamics,” he said.
Inniss said it only appeared they had a lot of detractors but in fact it was a “small few” which tried to make them look like they were doing something “ever so wrong”.
Inniss also mentioned the move to change what was sold in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
“We are now being criticised for insisting healthy snacks be sold in our health care institutions but I cant have a situation where we spend almost $170 million a year in the QEH and still have it as a contributor towards unhealthy lifestyles,” he said. (CA)