BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Health Minister Donville Inniss has announced a ban on smoking in public places from October 1. Inniss said the Cabinet had recently approved anti-smoking legislation and the draft laws “will shortly be laid in parliament.
|Health Minister Donville Inniss|
“This legislation seeks to protect vulnerable individuals and groups from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke,” he told the gathering. It is a fundamental right of our citizens to live, work and play in a clean and wholesome environment.”
The new measure will be accompanied by stiff fines for smokers and businesses and covers rum-shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, other businesses, Government buildings and some places of “national significance” such as libraries and museums.
Smokers found guilty of breaking the regulations may face a BDS$500 (US$250) fine or a 12-month prison term – or both.
Business owners who allow patrons to smoke in a public place could face a fine of BSD$5 000 (US$2,500) or imprisonment for 12 months – or both. The proprietors will also have to display no-smoking signage in at least two prominent places and those who refuse to do so or to allow inspectors from performing their duties could on conviction be fined $5 000 or imprisoned for a year or be subjected to both penalties.
Senior Medical Officer, Chronic Diseases, Dr Kenneth George, said a public place is a place that has a permanent or temporary roof that is either fully or substantially enclosed.
“The definition clearly states that if the place has walls, doors or windows it will be considered to be an enclosed space.”
The Health Minister said he does not expect much opposition to the smoking ban.
“You may find that people will now more come to bars and rum shops than before because smoking is not allowed,” he said, adding that “evidence has shown from other jurisdictions that such action as prohibition of smoking in public places has actually resulted in increased business for many of these establishments.”
Trinidad and Tobago is another Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country that has passed tough anti-smoking legislation.