Home Press Releases Health Ministry doubles down on policies & legislation

Health Ministry doubles down on policies & legislation

  • Tobacco Control, School Nutrition top priority

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Tuesday, May 7, 2024: With a mission to modernise and transform its response to healthcare services, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will this year move assiduously to conclude discussions around health policies and legislations.         

“The Government’s use of moral suasion has to be bolstered by policy and legislation,” noted Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton during his Sectoral presentation in Parliament on Tuesday (May 7).    

“This year, we will continue and conclude legislation around comprehensive Tobacco Control; effective regulation of natural health products, including nutraceuticals; Funeral Homes Amendments; and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Practitioners for Prescriptive Rights,” he added.   

The suite of policies is intended to strengthen the legislative and regulatory landscape for health.

“These are all game changing and should assist behaviour change for better health outcomes,” the Minister added.        


On December 1, 2020, the Minister tabled the “Tobacco Control Act, 2020” in Parliament. The proposed legislation is currently being considered by a Joint Select Committee, chaired by the Minister of Health & Wellness. 

The tobacco legislation responds to the public health threat of tobacco use and provides a tool to curtail the promotion and sale of tobacco products to children while also prohibiting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as e-cigarettes) in public spaces.    

Once passed, the Tobacco Control Bill will provide comprehensive legislation that restricts all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. The proposed legislation will protect Jamaicans, including children and the vulnerable from the harmful and addictive effects of tobacco use.   

Meanwhile, the intention is also to progress with nutrition-focused policies, including the elimination of trans fats; front-of-package labelling and the school nutrition policy.       

“We will continue and hope to conclude the school nutrition policy in collaboration with the Ministry of Education & Youth and will begin this year a process of sensitisation of the school administrators and cafeteria owners on menu options for balanced meals for our children,” the Minister said.  

Public stakeholder consultation sessions with school administrators, students, vendors, manufacturers and parents have allowed for feedback on how the policy will be implemented.          

The National School Nutrition Policy and associated standards are expected to help create the necessary enabling environment for the replacement of foods high in fat, sugar and salt with more nutritious options. The policy provides an overarching framework to transform schools into a healthy setting for children.