Tuesday 11 August, 2020

Government to table bill this month to arrest illegal tobacco trade

Dr Christopher Tufton (file photo)

Dr Christopher Tufton (file photo)

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tutton, has indicated that a comprehensive legislation is to be taken before Cabinet by the end of this month to address, among other things, the illicit cigarette trade.

"For us in Jamaica, we have begun a process to table into law in short order, comprehensive legislation. And that comprehensive legislation will address the gaps that currently exist in terms of discounting, if you will, the consumption of tobacco in our country. And included in that legislation are provisions to strengthen the approach to dealing with the illicit trade," the health and wellness minister declared.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Health Organisation (WHO) FCTC multi-sectorial workshop to promote the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products that was held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in St James last week.

The minister underlined the need for a multilateral approach to successfully tackle the challenges posed by the illicit trade in tobacco products.

"It can't be done by one ministry. It is a combination of efforts by multi-agencies within a country, ministries within a country; but also a cross border (effort) because the transnational nature of the tobacco trade and the illicit trade in tobacco products requires a transnational response," Tufton stated.

He declared that the signing on to the protocol "is an attempt at addressing in a transnational way, the approach to dealing with this illicit trade".

He added: "It is necessary that all of us sign on, which is why we are here. And to deal with that in a collaborative way, we first have to understand what this protocol is saying. How it empowers us, how it encourages us, how it guides us in terms of making the appropriate decisions," Tufton stressed.

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