Given decades of evidence that tobacco is bad for health and the economy, why is Jamaica suddenly planning to expand tobacco growing by lending government land and technical support to British American Tobacco?
Well, it appears that the Jamaican government has a cozy relationship with Big Tobacco. British American Tobacco - the world's second largest tobacco corporation - recently gave the government money to repair police vehicles.
What’s more, efforts to expand tobacco production are happening while tobacco use contributes to the leading causes of death in Jamaica and the Jamaican legislature stalls national tobacco control legislation.
Jamaica ratified the global tobacco treaty in 2005, yet its leaders are taking money from the industry and collaborating with Big Tobacco in clear breach of the treaty.
Help the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control get the attention of the government. Click here to send a message to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health.
Tobacco has a devastating impact on economies and on public health. Increasing cultivation of tobacco would help exacerbate these impacts in Jamaica as well as globally.
I am writing to urge you to stop to the governments’ plans for expanding tobacco growing in Jamaica. Jamaica is a Party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Encouraging tobacco expansion breaches Jamaica’s legal obligations under this international treaty.
In addition, Jamaica has played a leading role in the CARICOM declaration to unify countries to stop the epidemic of Non-Communicable diseases (heart disease, cancer, lung disease). Tobacco is a leading cause of these diseases and is the number one cause of preventable death. As a key facilitator at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Summit on Non Communicable Disease, it is important that Jamaica lead on this issue – and not undermine global progress on public health by encouraging tobacco production that ultimately spreads death and disease globally.
We encourage you instead to:
• Fully implement the FCTC by passing a strong and effective national tobacco control law,
• Assist farmers by supporting the development of economically viable alternatives to tobacco farming rather than encouraging the expansion of tobacco farming, and
• Follow the FCTC Article 5.3 guidelines which call on governments to prohibit partnerships and to limit interactions with the tobacco industry.
Thank you for your kind attention.