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February 1, 2014
Star News


House approves amendments to smoking regulations

The House of Representatives has approved amendments to the regulations governing the ban on smoking in public places, which were recommended by the Human Resource and Social Development Committee of Parliament.

A report from the committee was submitted to the Lower House for debate and approval on January 28.

In his contribution to the debate, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson outlined some of the changes that will be made to the regulations, due to recommendations from the committee, Cabinet, and other stakeholders.

"The terms 'public place' and 'enclosed' will be redefined to ensure greater clarity and appropriate enforcement. Smoke-free places will be clarified. These include, but are not limited to all outdoor service and dining areas, indoor areas, parks, heritage sites excluding their parking lots, gateways and driveways," Dr Ferguson said.

In respect of the definition of 'workplace', Dr Ferguson said the ban will apply to enclosed workplaces in general. However, the general reference to homes and private vehicles used for employment purposes will be removed.

The minister also explained that previously, persons whose operations were subject to the provisions of the regulations, were allowed a period of six months to bring their operations in full compliance with the legislation, but this has been extended.

"In accordance with the recommendation of the committee, the transitional period will be extended to nine months and will now expire on April 14, 2014," Dr Ferguson noted.

The minister said the fines were considered too low by the ministry to encourage compliance.

"Therefore, the ministry, in consultation with the chief parliamentary counsel and the attorney general's chambers, has settled on maximum fines as follows: $10,000 for a first offence; $25,000 for a second and $50,000 for subsequent offences," Dr Ferguson said.

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