Pursuant to press releases issued on 18 December 2018 and 1 July 2019 respectively, the Ministry of Health wishes to remind the public that enforcement of Tobacco Control Act, 2016 and Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 is still in force.
However, the Ministry has noted with concern the low compliance rate among the general public and institutions in spite of the numerous radio, television and community engagement programmmes conducted to sensitize the pubic on the law and regulations. In addition to the public sensitization programmes, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, also made a televised statement on 12th November 2020, reminding and soliciting the cooperation of the public on the enforcement of the law and regulations.
By copy of this press release, the Ministry is once again reminding the public on some of the key provisions of the Act:
A smoke free environment ensuring that every person has a right to smoke free environment; a person consuming a tobacco product including SHISHA shall ensure that he/she does not expose another person to tobacco smoke, a person shall not smoke in any public place, workplace and public transport, a person shall not smoke in an enclosed space that is within 100 meters of a public place, workplace, public transport or any other place that provides services primarily to minors.
Prohibition of smoking in all public places, which includes offices, office building and workplaces including individual offices, public areas, corridors, lounges, guest rooms, lodging, eating areas, reception area, lifts, escalators, foyers, stairwells, toilets, laundries, amenity areas; court buildings; factories; hotels; bars and restaurants; hospitals, clinics and other health institutions; educational institutions at all levels; premises in which children are cared for; public places of worship; prisons; police cells; public service vehicle and other means of public transport; public transport terminals, including airport and airfields; retail establishments including markets and shopping malls; cinemas and theatrical performance halls; sport stadia; and such other places as may be prescribed by the regulation.
In addition to the list provided, it is important to know that there is no provision in the Act allowing creation of designated smoking areas or zones. The only smoking area as per the Tobacco Control Act, 2016 and Regulation, 2019 is one hundred (100) meters away from public places.
Further to the provisions on smoke free environment, the Act prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; display of tobacco products at point of sell. Sellers of tobacco products are required to hide their products which shall only be displayed at the time of purchase and selling of single stick of cigarette and small packets less than (20) sticks of cigarette are prohibited.
In accordance with the article 26 of the tobacco control law, the public is hereby informed that police officers, public health officers, custom officers, environmental inspectors or any other person appointed by the Minister of Health are the authorized officers for the enforcement of the law.
With all the all the necessary preparations in place, the public is hereby further reminded that with immediate effect the law enforcement officers shall embark on full enforcement of the law and regulations.
The Ministry of Health and Office of the Inspector of Police therefore solicits the cooperation of the public in the enforcement of the Tobacco Control Law and Regulations to protect the health of the population.