Lawyer explains the Tobacco Control Bill

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The Tobacco Control Bill does not ban smoking or the sale of tobacco products but simply regulates where people smoke and where tobacco products can be sold.
Regional public health lawyer, Kesaundra Alves, made the clarification on OBSERVER AM today.
She also stressed that the Tobacco Control Bill bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Once the Bill is passed, smoking will be prohibited in enclosed indoor spaces, public transportation, parks, any public place where there is a large gathering of people, including where there is consumption of food. It further forbids smoking 30 metres away from any doorway, window or vent of enclosed indoor spaces.
The Bill also proposes to ban the sale of tobacco products in health care, education, sports, child care and government facilities.
The Regional public health lawyer denounced speculation that tobacco control laws could cost the economy billions of dollars in taxes as a ‘falsehood spread by the tobacco industry’.
She argued to the contrary that the Bill will help the nation to save money in health care. 
“We have seen time and time again countries that have implemented tobacco control laws with no fall back in business,” she said.
“We save so much money in our public health care when we don’t have to treat the diseases caused by tobacco use,” she added, listing cancer, diabetes as well as cardio-vascular and chronic respiratory diseases.
The draft bill currently has no penalties for offenders. Alves says the Bill is lacking in this respect.
Other tobacco control legislation within the region impose maximum fines of up to US $50 for smokers. Business owners, she indicated, are fined US $1000 or three years imprisonment while corporative bodies can be fined as much as US $45,000.
The draft bill received opposition from veteran government parliamentarian, Robin Yearwood and major importers of tobacco and tobacco products during consultations last month.

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