Dominica examining legislation to ban smoking in public places

Monday, June 19, 2017

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ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — Dominica is reviewing draft legislation which could lead to the island restricting smoking in public places, Health Minister Dr Kenneth Darroux has said.

He said that a consultant from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was here assisting the Roosevelt Skerrit government in the revision of draft legislation for this tobacco legislation.

Darroux told the Dominica online publication “DaVibes” that the island has received draft legislation regarding tobacco legislation from other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries and “the hope is that we're going to revise all of this draft legislation and see which of these are pertinent to Dominica”.

Barbados, Grenada and Jamaica, have already implemented this tobacco legislation and banned smoking in public places.

Both PAHO and the World Health Organization (WHO) have said the most cost-effective tobacco control measures includes higher tobacco taxes, elimination of tobacco advertising and promotion, smoke-free environments and strong, graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging.

Darroux said that in support of the framework convention, an increase in tax was applied on tobacco products from 45 to 75 per cent in the 2013 national budget.

“I'm really hoping that pretty soon that we can take this to Parliament,” Darroux said, adding “this is also going to be a tremendous achievement and assist us, and it's also going to look good on our resume as it pertains to combatting NCD's (non-communicable diseases)”.

“We know the cause of NCDs, a lot of these are lifestyle related, alcohol and smoking etc., so as the Minister for Health I think that it would be quite a big feather in my cap if I could take this to Parliament soon,” he continued.

Darroux said that the draft legislation will go before Cabinet for review “until Cabinet satisfies itself that all the provisions within the law are going to be conducive, (and that) there are no controversial issues”.

“We also have to respect people's rights when we do these things and respect people's lifestyles. And while we can legislate certain things, we also have to be careful that in legislating things that we think are going to help us fight NCDs and other health issues, that we don't violate people's fundamental and basic human rights,” Darroux said.

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