Address For World No Tobacco Day by Joanna Joseph

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs joins the rest of the World Health Organization in observance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2022. The theme this year which is “Tobacco: Threat to our environment” is an opportune reminder of the importance of maintaining smoke-free environments.

The Public Health (Smoking Control) Amendment of 2019 and Regulations of 2020are important smoking control laws in Saint Lucia which offer protection from the harms of smoking. According to the legislation, smoking cigarettes, other electronic devices, or any other substance is now prohibited in businesses and workplaces, public places like bars, restaurants, parks, and beaches, likewise in public transports, taxis, and terminals. The sale of cigarettes to and by minors is also prohibited, and cigarettes can no longer be sold within proximity to schools, educational, health, religious, and sports facilities. The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs reminds the public and business entities that the six-month grace period for adjustment and compliance ended in December 2020 and encourages business entities to ensure compliance for signage and other requirements. Everybody needs to be aware of these smoking control laws and support the smoking restrictions to ensure our health and safety; fines for offenses are up to EC$5,000.00 for individuals or EC$10,000.00 for business entities on summary conviction.

In this era of COVID-19, smoking and exposure to smoking are unhealthy practices since they are associated with adverse outcomes for those who contract the disease. Let us all play our part to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all of us and the generations to come.

Smoke-free generation starts with you and me!