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Tobacco Control Act
Cigarette smoking is not only dangerous to the health of the smoker, but also dangerous to persons inhaling the smoke from someone smoking around them. The management of tobacco smoking is a critical public health matter. The Tobacco Control Act No 15 of 2009 is designed to protect citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke, prevent smoking by young people, to restrict promotional activities by tobacco manufacturers, improve public awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, and ensure that consumers are provided with enough information to make more informed decisions on using tobacco products.
Sections in force
The act has been partially proclaimed by Legal Notice 24 of 2010. The sections currently in force are Sections 1 to 9 and sections 12 to 22. This article deals specifically with the prohibitions on smoking in particular areas.
No smoking in certain areas
Section 12 of the act prohibits smoking or holding a lit tobacco product in any enclosed public place, enclosed workplace or public conveyance. “Tobacco product” is defined as any product made entirely or even partly of the leaf of the tobacco as raw material. A cigarette is a tobacco product. A “public place” means any place accessible to the general public or place of shared use despite who owns the place or who has a right of access to the place. A “public conveyance” means any form of transportation that carries passengers for hire. A maxi taxi is an example of a public conveyance.
“Workplace” is a place used by persons during their employment and includes vehicles, and any area used during the course of employment but does not include private residences or private vehicles. A place is “enclosed” if it is covered by a roof completely or substantially. A place is substantially enclosed if more than fifty per cent of it is closed to the outside air.
Smoking is not only the inhaling and exhaling from a lit tobacco product, like a cigarette. Smoking includes handling of an ignited or heated tobacco product. So if a person simply has a lit cigarette in his hand, he commits an offence under the act.
The following is a list of areas where smoking is not allowed:
• Public transportation terminals
• Retail establishments including bars, restaurants and shopping malls
• Concert halls
• Sports facilities
• Pool and bingo halls
• Publicly owned facilities rented out for events
• Any other facilities accessible to the public
A person who smokes in places restricted in this act is liable to a fine of $10,000 and to imprisonment for six months. Where a person commits the offence of smoking in a restricted place, the manager, owner or lessee of that place who authorises or allows the offence is also guilty of the offence and faces the same fine.
The act is to be enforced to a large extent by the authorised officers under the act, namely, police officers, customs officers and public health inspectors.
This column is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should consult a legal adviser.
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