Minister within the Public Health Ministry Dr Karen Cummings has said that the long-awaited tobacco legislation will be tabled in the House at the next sitting.
Although this has been the cry of the Ministry for the past several months, Dr Cummings stated that because the Bill is in its final draft, they are fine-tuning it. However, she promised that it will be presented to Parliament when the House comes out of recess.
“We want to ensure that it is meaningful and it promotes disease control, healthy living and miners not being sold cigarettes,” she said, noting that one of the key aims of the Bill is to reduce second-hand smoking.
Pan-American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Country Representative Dr William Adu-Krow has stated that there is an urgent need for tobacco restrictions to be enforced in Guyana, underscoring that profits brought in through the tobacco industry does not compensate for the many lives being lost from smoking and second-hand smoke every year.
In 2005, Guyana assented to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and promised to impose regulations for tobacco consumption and its trade.
The Bill, intended to protect present and future generations from the “devastating harms” of tobacco use, exposure to tobacco smoke, and specifically to prevent tobacco use among youths, has been eagerly anticipated by the health sector and dreaded by the tobacco industry.