Monday, April 15, 2024

Clamp down on tobacco adverts

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IT WAS WITH GREAT INTEREST that we read your article entitled Smoke Alarm in last week’s SUNDAY SUN newspaper. 

We must express our strong support for the Ministry of Health and the Non-Communicable Disease Commission for their efforts in the tobacco advertisement campaign to remove all forms of advertising and marketing to promote tobacco product use in any way.

It is clear that tobacco smoke is one of the most harmful substances that can be bought over the counter and forcibly inhaled in confined areas. Globally, tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century, much more than all deaths in World Wars I and II combined. What is clear is that these deaths could have been prevented. Tobacco use increases the risk of death from many diseases; cancer, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and stroke are the most common ones.

Barbados has been a signatory to the FCTC which is an international treaty and convention that calls for banning of advertising and promotion of tobacco products. Article 13 from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control paragraph 8 and 9 supports the context for the need to ban all forms of tobacco advertising.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados supports the Ministry of Health and the Non-Communicable Disease Commission’s intention to enact legislation banning advertising and promoting the use of tobacco products in all of its forms and hopes that such legislation can be passed in the shortest possible time.

Barbados has done much since Independence through its actions as a nation, to protect its people and more importantly its’ children, from the harmful effects of tobacco. It would be unfortunate, if as we celebrate 50 years of Independence, we allow the gains achieved to be reversed as a result of actions of certain sections of the business community, whether these be local or foreign.

– GINA PITTS
Chief executive officer, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados

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