Minister of Health, Donville Inniss??

From October 1 this year, Barbadians and visitors to our shores stand to be prosecuted if found smoking in public places.

This was announced yesterday by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, during a press briefing held at the Accra Beach Hotel, Rockley, Christ Church.?? He said that the legislation, which was aimed at "protecting our citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke," had been approved by the Cabinet of Barbados, was being gazetted, and would shortly be laid in Parliament.

"This tremendous journey over the past 10 years has been worth the effort and announcing this today elevates Barbados to the group of responsible nations that take the public health of its citizens seriously….?? The financial, socio-economic and health gains in passing this legislation will be reflected in generations of Barbadians to come and we must indeed be proud," Mr. Inniss added.

Noting that the new legislation was designed to protect vulnerable individuals and groups from the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke, the Minister maintained that it was a fundamental right of Barbadian citizens to live, work and play in clean and wholesome environments.?? "While the legislation does not prevent the smoker from lighting up, it provides for a smoke-free environment for Barbadians and visitors alike," he pointed out.

Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kenneth George, explained that a definition of a public place according to the Health Services Regulations included "a building, place, structure, or facility that is owned or occupied by the Crown or a statutory board; a place, site, building, factory, plant, work-place or other structure that is fully or substantially enclosed; and a library, museum, auditorium, historic or other site of archaeological or national significance."

He indicated that the legislation would be enforced by an "inspector", who might be an Environmental Health Officer, Building Officer in the Environmental Protection Division or a Public Health Officer.??

Individuals smoking in places designated as "public" are liable on conviction to a fine of $500, imprisonment for 12 months, or both.?? Occupiers who permit a person to smoke in a public place are liable on conviction to be fined $5000, or imprisonment for 12 months, or both.

Dr. George also stressed that any occupier who prohibited an inspector from performing his duties or refused to have the specified signage on their premises was liable on conviction to be fined $5000, or imprisonment for one year, or both. kmoore@barbados.gov.bb

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