26 Feb 2014 16:10pm
WINDHOEK, 26 FEB (NAMPA) - The Minister of Health and Social Services has announced that the Tobacco Products Control Act (Act No 1 of 2010) will be gazetted in April this year.
Once implemented, the Act will prohibit people from smoking in public places and areas such as restaurants, airports and motor-vehicles, amongst other places.
Health minister Richard Kamwi launched World Cancer Day and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Healthy Lifestyle Day in the capital on Wednesday, where he explained that the Act was cleared on 27 January 2013 at the Ministry of Justice, and signed on 18 November 2013.
Explaining why there has been a delay in the implementation of the law, Kamwi said it was not deliberate.
When you come up with a law, you have to come up with regulations, and I had to consult with stakeholders, he noted, adding that there were no regulations to guide implementers such as law-enforcement agents and inspectors as defined by the law.
Some good examples of these include the packet design, taking into account the size of the cigarette packet, pictures and warnings, amongst others.
Kamwi said there had been consultations with stakeholders - some of whom opposed the good measures which have been put in place and as a result, the regulations under the Act took time to finalize.
A Tobacco Products Control Committee comprising 12 members from relevant stakeholders has been constituted, and a stakeholders meeting is now scheduled for 13 and 14 March 2014.
Kamwi made it clear that WHO Director-General (DG) Dr Margaret Chan has given her support for the Act, saying she will support challenges from any industry which will consider challenging the Ministry of Health and Social Services on the implementation of this Act.
He then called on all sectors to adopt the 'no-smoking' habit in order to curb incidences of cancer.