Minister of Health, Donville Inniss????

Over 50 delegates from across the region are expected to converge here for the Caribbean Sub-regional Meeting on Tobacco Surveillance and Policy Development, slated for the Accra Beach Hotel, from November 16 to 20.

The meeting, a collaborative effort among the Pan-American Health Organisation – Office of Caribbean Program Coordination and the Tobacco Control Team Washington D.C.; the Office of Smoking and Health – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention USA; and Barbados’ Health Ministry, will look at the implementation of Articles 5.3 and 13 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Article 5.3 of the FCTC addresses "Protection of Policies from Commercial and Other Vested Interests of the Tobacco Industry", while Article 13 examines "Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship".??

The forum will also assess the use of tobacco surveillance data for the development of effective and evidence-based tobacco control policies.

This country’s Health Minister, Donville Inniss, will deliver the feature address at the official opening ceremony on Monday, November 16, at 9:00 a.m.

Tobacco use and exposure is a major risk factor in the development of chronic non-communicable diseases, particularly hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke and poor blood circulation. According to the Ministry of Health, some 8.4% of the adult population in Barbados are current smokers, comprising 15.4% adult males and 2.2% adult females.

Additionally, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2007 of 13-15 year old secondary school children showed an increasing trend and suggested that up to 15% of children in this age group are current smokers or have experimented with tobacco products within the recent past. The average age of initiation of smoking was 19 years.

In June 2004, Barbados signed the FCTC and ratified it in November 2005. This is a landmark public health treaty that has been signed by 168 countries. The convention uses a collective agreement through governmental agencies to advance prevention and control strategies for tobacco. It gives member states a framework and guide through a series of articles related to legislation, taxation, packaging and labeling, illicit trade and counterfeit products and public education.

The Ministry of Health, through its Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Commission, is committed to working with local, regional and international partners in continuing the campaign against the harmful effects of tobacco smoking. The partners include non-governmental organisations and the Pan American Health Organisation.

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