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Tobacco legislation soon to be tabled

Tobacco legislation soon to be tabled

first_img… Opposition asks for further consultationPan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Country Representative, Dr William Adu-KrowCountry Representative of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Dr William Adu-Krow, on Tuesday indicated that the long-awaited Tobacco Control Bill 2016 will be tabled in the House on October 28.He explained that there were some hiccups with “moving forward” with the Bill, particularly as it relates to the ban on smoking in the home. He said too that there were some objections that the home is considered a private place and the legislation should not dictate what occurs within.“There was the contention that the home is my mansion. My personal space, but if someone else is in that home then it is not private. Someone else can be affected by it,” he said.Adu-Krow said too that although both the Government and the Opposition had signalled their “go-ahead” for the legislation, the Opposition has affirmed there should be more consultation before it is passed as law.The proposed tobacco control legislation will see a ban on smoking in public places while cigarette advertising will be disallowed and graphic and text health warnings will have to be displayed on at least 75 per cent of the packaging on tobacco products.The Bill seeks to ban smoking at all indoor workplaces, public transport and strictly regulates the sale of cigarettes while creating reporting requirements for manufacturers, wholesale distributors or importers, with penalties ranging as high as $16 million and a period of imprisonment.Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr Karen Cummings, had pointed out that it took the Bill a long time to be where it is today because there was a lot of fine-tuning to be done.“We want to ensure that it is meaningful and it promotes disease control, healthy living and miners not being sold cigarettes,” she said, noting that one of the key aims of the Bill is to reduce second-hand smoking.Dr William Adu-Krow stated that there is an urgent need for tobacco restrictions to be enforced in Guyana, underscoring that the profits brought in through the tobacco industry does not compensate for the many lives being lost from smoking and second-hand smoke every year.However, the key stakeholder, Demerara Tobacco Ltd, has labelled the Bill as heavily flawed. Managing Director of the company, Maurlaine Argyle-Kirton, raised the concern that the Bill is not balanced and will cripple the tobacco industry once it is passed in Parliament.According to the Bill’s explanatory memorandum, the purpose of the legislation is to fight the tobacco epidemic by implementing the evidence-based requirements of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which Guyana acceded to on September 15, 2005.The proposed legislation seeks to establish a National Tobacco Control Council to advise the Public Health Minister on matters related to tobacco control and allowing the enforcement powers of authorised officers who are authorised to conduct inspections, investigations or enforcement activities under the Act. The authorised officers can enter any public place, workplace or means of public transportation to conduct any inspection or investigation at any time during business or operating hours or any other reasonable or necessary time. They have the power to seize and detain or order the storage of any tobacco product that they reasonably believe does not comply with the Act.last_img read more