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Government moves to ratify Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005 - The Saint Lucia House of Assembly has approved the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Bill, which creates the necessary social environment for the implementation of the convention signed in 2004. The decision means the Government of Saint Lucia has given it official legal backing to the World Health Organization (WHO) Convention dealing with the control of tobacco and the effects resulting from its use

Minister for Minister Health, Human Services, Family Affairs and Gender Relations Honourable Damian Greaves, says smoking of cigarettes and its resultant second hand smoke have become major public health issues around the world. Statistics from the WHO indicate that tobacco use results in the death of one person every six seconds. In the Caribbean region, figures from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reveal that 5,600 persons die each year from tobacco related diseases.

Minister Greaves says the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Bill contain measures that addresses tobacco use, cross border issues like tobacco taxation, advertising restrictions and the control of second hand smoke. In piloting the Bill, he told the House, “It is the right of people to ensure that their social space or their air space is not encroached upon simple because people think they can stand up anywhere and smoke.”

Addressing members of the House of Assembly last week, the Member of Parliament for Dennery South Hon. Greaves says, “In as much as there is a tendency to suggest that it is my right as an individual to smoke, it does not take away from the right of the other person who does not want to be a victim of the inhalation of second hand smoke and thus become a victim of cancer or any other diseases as a result of second hand smoke.”

Locally, statistics from the Saint Lucia Cancer Society reveal that 14 percent of students from grades 6-9 and forms 1-4 have used some kind of tobacco product. The Society says several of the cancer cases diagnosed on the island like cancer of the bladder, kidney, pancreas, liver, stomach and mouth are associated with smoking and tobacco use.

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