a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - No Smoking

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First Published Barbados Nation 6th August 2010 - article by Tony Yearwood

No Smoking
Veteran anti-smoking activist Dr Tony Gale (standing) acknowledges the applause from
colleagues.

Barbados is outlawing smoking in public places from October 1.

The ban, announced yesterday by Minister of Health Donville Inniss, comes with stiff fines for both smokers and businesses that don’t clamp down on people taking a puff.

It 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 $500 fine or a 12-month prison term – or both.

It’s going to be a lot tougher for proprietors found guilty of allowing people to smoke in a public place. They could be fined $5 000 or be imprisoned for 12 months – or both.

Under laws to be passed shortly, proprietors also have to display no-smoking signage in at least two prominent places.

 

 

Those who refuse to do this or to allow inspectors from performing their duties could be fined $5 000 or imprisoned for 12 months – or face both penalties, once convicted.

Ban and penalties

The ban and penalties were announced during a breakfast briefing session the Ministry of Health hosted at Accra Beach Hotel & Resort in Christ Church.

Senior Medical Officer, Chronic Diseases, Dr Kenneth George, detailed the penalties for non-compliance. He said there was a clear and simple definition of “public place”.

He told the WEEKEND NATION: “A public place is a place that has a permanent or temporary roof, that is either fully or substantially enclosed [to which the public has access].

"The definition clearly states that if the place has walls, doors or windows it will be considered to be an enclosed space.” Inniss said the Cabinet had recently approved anti-smoking legislation and the drafted laws “will shortly be laid in parliament”.

“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.”

Inniss told the WEEKEND NATION that he did not expect protests from bars and hotels.

“You may find that people will now more come to bars and rum shops than before because smoking is not allowed,” he said.

“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.”

According to Inniss, most of the tourists visiting the island are from jurisdictions where smoking in public places has already been banned.

“I don’t know of one tourist who decides to come to Barbados because smoking was allowed in Barbados,” he remarked.

“I don’t think that the hotel industry is going to see any fall-off in business [because of the ban]. As a matter of fact, they may see an increase in business if it is promoted well across the place that Barbados is moving towards becoming a smoke-free environment.”

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