Government announces smoking ban in public places

13 Mar 2014 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 13 MAR (NAMPA) – No smoking will be allowed in public places as of 01 July 2014.
Any person who contravenes or fails to comply to the ban commits an offence and is liable on conviction to fines ranging from N.dollars 500 up to N.dollars 200 000, imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both.
Minister of Health and Social Services Richard Kamwi said this during the launch of the Tobacco Products Control Regulations as well as a stakeholders’ meeting here on Thursday.
The Tobacco Products Control Regulations will come into effect as of 01 April 2014, and should be instituted within three months, he said.
“I determined that the said Act will come into operation on 01 April 2014. This has the following implications - firstly, within three months, the following must be instituted: no smoking will be allowed in public places; warning signs must be displayed at all points of tobacco sale; restricted availability of tobacco to persons under the age of 18; no smoking signs must be displayed at all public places; and specific oversight duties must be implemented by owners and/or persons in charge of the public places,” he stressed.
Public spaces include shopping malls, sports fields, schools, workplaces, restaurants, airport lounges, and public transport.
The regulations stipulate comprehensive tobacco control measures which will be implemented all over the country.
Kamwi made reference to the World Bank that has confirmed repeatedly that the economic impact of disability, lost productivity and early deaths due to tobacco contributes to the burden of poverty, retards national development and further widens health and income equality.
The health minister also introduced the appointment of the Tobacco Products Control Committee, and announced the Inspectors of the Act, who make up officials from the health ministry countrywide.
The regions have the following amounts of inspectors: Ohangwena eight; Kunene five; Omusati eight; Hardap four; Khomas two; Zambezi one; Oshana three; Otjozondjupa six; Karas four; Erongo seven; Oshikoto three; Omaheke three; and Kavango five.
More inspectors will be appointed in due course, according to Kamwi.
“I am confident that working together, we will make our public places tobacco smoke-free and reduce the burden of tobacco on the health of our people and the economy of our nation,” he added.