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Trinidad and Tobago – Health Issues

Trinidad and Tobago is a small twin-island country located in the southern Caribbean. Despite its size, it faces several health challenges that affect its population. This article will describe some of the common health issues affecting the population and provide an overview of the smoking prevalence and legislation in place.

Common Health Issues

Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs)

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a significant health issue in Trinidad and Tobago, as they are the leading cause of death in the country. According to a report from the Ministry of Health, NCDs accounted for 75% of deaths in 2016. The most prevalent NCDs in the country include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Trinidad and Tobago, accounting for 31% of all deaths. This includes conditions such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, and stroke. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, hypertension affects approximately 30% of the adult population in Trinidad and Tobago.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Trinidad and Tobago, accounting for 20% of all deaths. The most prevalent cancers in the country are prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancer.


Diabetes is also a significant health issue in Trinidad and Tobago, with an estimated 12.5% of the adult population living with the disease. It is the third leading cause of death in the country and can lead to several complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and blindness.

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Mental Health

Mental health is an often-overlooked aspect of healthcare in Trinidad and Tobago. However, it is a growing concern, with a reported increase in suicide rates in recent years. Depression and anxiety disorders are also prevalent in the country, with an estimated 5.6% of the population living with depression.

Smoking Prevalence and Legislation

Smoking Prevalence

Smoking is a significant public health issue in Trinidad and Tobago, with a reported smoking prevalence of 23.7% among adults. The prevalence is higher among men (33.4%) than women (15.6%).

Attitudes towards Smoking

Despite the high prevalence of smoking, there is a growing concern about its impact on health in Trinidad and Tobago. In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the negative health effects of smoking, and attitudes towards smoking have become increasingly negative.


The Trinidad and Tobago government has taken several steps to combat smoking in the country. The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 introduced several measures to reduce smoking prevalence, including:

  • Banning smoking in all public places, including restaurants, bars, and workplaces.
  • Restricting tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
  • Requiring graphic health warnings on tobacco products.

Despite these measures, smoking remains prevalent in the country, and enforcement of the legislation is often lax.

In conclusion, Trinidad and Tobago faces several health challenges, with NCDs being the leading cause of death in the country. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes are the most prevalent NCDs, while mental health is a growing concern. Smoking is also a significant public health issue in the country, with a high prevalence among adults. The government has taken steps to combat smoking, but more needs to be done to enforce the legislation and reduce smoking prevalence.

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