LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL PASSES NON-SMOKING LEGISLATION
On 14 November the Legislative
Council unanimously passed the Tobacco Control Act banning smoking in public
places in the BVI.
Along with prohibiting smoking
in offices, restaurants, bars and other such places, the Tobacco Control Act
will regulate the promotion, distribution and use of tobacco products in the
Minister for Health and Social
Development the Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton, who presented the bill for its second
and third reading said he was happy that the bill got the needed support to pass
through Legislative Council.
“I think my colleagues
acknowledged the need to protect the non-smokers in this community and this is
good. The concern for public health obviously outweighs any of the other
concerns that may be considered when introducing such a ban especially with the
Territory’s dependence on tourism, “Minister Skelton said.
The BVI joins as many as 57
countries in embracing the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control. The convention essentially gives countries more tools to
control tobacco use and save lives.
The Bermuda Senate passed a
similar bill in February which will make all workplaces in the British
Territory, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free beginning April 1.
Evidence show that the most
effective measures to reduce tobacco use is regulatory in nature. Policy
measures such as higher tobacco taxes, elimination of tobacco promotion, and the
mandatory implementation of smoke-free environments in public places and
workplaces have proven effective in reducing youth smoking and helping smokers
Tobacco is becoming one of the
single largest causes of deaths worldwide and affects nearly every organ of the
The Ministry of Health and
Welfare, under which this initiative falls, serves as the focal point for
leadership, legislation and policy direction in all operations relating to
health and social welfare and promoting the physical, mental and social health
of all persons in the Territory.
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