In the National Assembly-Smoking to be banned in all public places


17-June-2009

The Tobacco Control Bill allows the authorities to regulate the manufacture, use, sale, advertising and promotion of all tobacco products and was presented to the assembly by Minister of Health and Social Development Marie-Pierre Lloyd.

Members of both parties welcomed the Bill and said once it comes into effect it will bring Seychelles on a par with other countries that have already introduced similar legislation to curb smoking.

After lengthy debate there was a consensus among the members that, considering the harmful effects of smoking on health and the overstretched health delivery system in the country, there is an urgent need for stronger action.

This will deter people from taking up smoking and encourage existing smokers to give up the habit.
Presenting the Bill, Mrs Lloyd said in 2004 the 192 members of the World Health Organisation, including Seychelles, adopted the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Seychelles has, since then, ratified the convention, among whose aims is to ban tobacco advertising and sponsorship of mainly sports and cultural activities by tobacco companies.

Having signed the convention, Seychelles has a duty to ensure it has the necessary legislation in conformity with the convention, she said.

Mrs Lloyd said it is well known that cigarettes and smoking kill some five million people a year worldwide through tobacco-related diseases, and it is estimated that around one billion more will die this century unless a lot of smokers quit the habit.

She said figures here clearly show the scale of the problem we are facing.
A study conducted in 2004 showed that over 30% of men and 4% of women were smoking, and that 31% of adolescent boys and 21% of adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 15 were smoking at least one cigarette per month.

She said the figures show that if nothing serious is done in future, smoking will continue to have serious effects on our health and that of our nation.

She said today lung cancer caused by smoking is one of the most common forms of cancer here. To top it all, smoking causes, aggravates or increases the risk of cardiovascular and other non- communicable diseases.

Mrs Lloyd pointed out that many provisions of the Bill are already in force, especially the imposition of taxes, public education through schools and media campaigns, bans on tobacco adverts and smoking in some public places. These have helped reduce some of the disastrous effects of smoking.

She said this new piece of legislation will help to consolidate all these efforts and bring about more positive results in the fight against smoking and tobacco use.
 
The Bill, which is divided into six parts and comprises 28 clauses, provides among many other things for:
• A ban on smoking in all public places, enclosed workplaces and public transport;
• An owner of a public place or enclosed workplace to display a notice indicating that smoking is not allowed;
• The removal of a person who refuses to observe prohibition notices;
• Stricter controls on the sale of tobacco products to a child;
• Compelling shopkeepers to sell packets that contain only 10 or 20 cigarettes;
• Packets of tobacco products to bear the prescribed health warnings and other information, and not to contain misleading statements;
• The prevention of tobacco products being given as prizes.
Breaking the law could lead to a fine of between R1,000 and R150,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.
A Tobacco Control Board to be set up by the Minister of Health will be responsible for advising and making recommendations to the minister on matters relating to tobacco control.

It will consist of the principal secretary for health and not more than nine other members who have experience in the field of tobacco control, public health and consumer protection.

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