Govt to ban public smoking

first_img…smokers to face ,000 fine each time caughtGovernment’s Tobacco Control Bill 2017, reportedly aimed at preventing public exposure to second-hand smoking, has finally been made public after prolonged national waiting; and it has since been published in the Official Gazette.It generally provides that public smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products, such as cigars, is prohibited by law; and a monetary deterrent is applicable in this respect.Persons caught breaking this law for the first time are liable to be fined $10,000 on summary conviction, but each subsequent conviction attracts a penalty of $20,000.Moreover, no person shall be permitted to smoke in any waiting area or queue in a public place; including, but not limited to, any public transport stop, bus stand, or bus park. Smoking will also be prohibited in any park, playground, or amusement park; any stadium, arena, or any kind of sport of performance place, or any space for commercial service of food or drinks.It shall also be illegal for persons to smoke in any area within five metres of a window, door, or ventilation inlet to any public place or indoor work place.Smoking shall also be prohibited anywhere on the premises of — or within five metres from the outside boundary of — any healthcare, educational or child care facility.Further, no person shall smoke in any part of any indoor working place; indoor public space in any public transport, whether or not it is carrying another member of the public; or in any vehicle which is carrying a minor.AdvertisingThere will also be a clampdown on advertising campaigns that have been launched by tobacco companies over the years, in that there will be prohibition on all advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products, even by electronic delivery systems.These legislative measures had been proposed when Dr George Norton was Minister of Public Health, but they were never tabled in the National Assembly since they were engaging the attention of a cabinet sub-committee.Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Ettienne, had also recently called on Government to step up efforts to introduce the long-awaited tobacco control legislation, since it could prove critical in reducing diseases that are the leading causes of death in Guyana.According to information posted on the PAHO website, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) –including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes — account for 70 percent of deaths in Guyana, and one-third of these deaths are premature (in people under 70).Etienne has said that tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity are the main risk factors underlying this epidemic.The PAHO director had called for a “working together (among) different sectors of society and different government ministries to reduce the burden of these diseases and save lives.”Etienne has also said that tobacco control is a good place to start in stepping up action against NCDs; since, overall, it is the leading risk factor for these diseases.“We believe that tobacco taxes should be increased, tobacco packaging should feature strong warnings, and people should be protected from secondhand smoke,” she has expressed.According to data released in recent years, although tobacco is acknowledged as a dangerous substance, at least 11 per cent of children in Guyana are regular smokers, and at least 20 per cent of them began smoking before they were 10 years old.The International Monetary Fund had also recently revealed that, out of a total of 163 countries, 66 middle or low income countries have neither legislation nor polices that regulate the sale, marketing, or use of tobacco.last_img read more