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Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Smoking ban in enclosed public places starts Wed - Trinidad & Tobago Express

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Published 14th February 2010

FROM Ash Wednesday, smokers will no longer be allowed to light up in any enclosed public place. The Ministry of Health yesterday issued a release, announcing that the Tobacco Control Act, passed back in December 2009, will be proclaimed by President George Maxwell Richards and enforced in phases from Wednesday onwards.

The release reminded that the control of tobacco smoking was a critical public health intervention for smokers and would-be smokers, and that the Tobacco Control Act was designed to not only protect individuals from exposure to tobacco smoke, particularly children and young people, babies (born and unborn), pregnant women and the vulnerable, but prevent people from picking up the habit.

’It also seeks to prevent smoking by young people, especially children, to restrict promotional activities by tobacco manufacturers, enhance public awareness of the hazards of tobacco use, ensure that consumers are provided with sufficient information to make more informed decisions on using tobacco products and prevent illicit trade,’ the release added.

At the opening of special meeting of the Council for Social and Human Development (a body made up of Caribbean Health Ministers) last week at the Hyatt, Port of Spain, Health Minister Jerry Narace said he made a commitment to undertake a public education initiative before enforcing all of the clauses of the Act and to work on the specific regulations to support the Act.

’The Ministry of Health will now intensify its public education campaign regarding the Tobacco Control Act, the upcoming proclamation, and the health effects of tobacco use and second hand smoke in general. We shall also be launching a Tobacco Cessation Campaign, as well as other clinical and non-clinical smoking cessation programmes to support the people who wish to quit smoking,’ he said.

Aabida Allaham

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