Amidst much contention, the coalition Government had pushed through a Tobacco Control bill in July of 2017. Now the grace period, which was supposed to be used by health officials to launch an aggressive awareness campaign to familiarise the general public with the new laws, has expired.
An order was signed by Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence and dubbed the ‘Tobacco Control (Commencement) Order 2017’. It declares that the Tobacco Control Act will henceforth come into operation.
The Tobacco Control (Commencement) Order 2017 is retroactive; thus it takes effect from a date prior to its operationalisation. In this case, the order was made retroactive by the Minister from December 11, 2017, making any public smoking after that date illegal.
Government’s Tobacco Control Bill provides that public smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products, such as cigars, will be prohibited by law. Moreover, no person shall be permitted to smoke in any waiting area or queue in a public place.
This includes, but is 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.
The Act says 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.