The Tobacco Control Act 2016 which was recently signed into law by President David Granger has 46 Clauses at least 26 of which detail actions which constitute offences.
These offences are detailed in 6 of the 11 parts and offenders become culpable from May 22, 2018. That date is nine months from August 22, 2017 the day on which President Granger signed the Act into law.
Part V provides for protection from second hand smoke by making it an offence to smoke in any place where smoking is prohibited.
A person committing this act is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 on the first offence and $30,000 for any second or subsequent offence.
Both the Act itself and its first schedule provide a list of prohibited places which section 15 (1) (b) of the Act notes includes any part of any indoor public place, including but not limited to those listed in the first schedule.
The list in the first schedule serves as an illustration and specifies health care institutions and facilities, educational institutions of all levels, child care facilities, and retail establishments, including stalls, stores, shops and shopping malls.
Also included are hotels and other places of lodging, restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes and other eating or drinking establishments, gaming machine venues and casinos, entertainment facilities including clubs, cinemas, concert halls, theatres, game arcades, pool and bingo halls.
Publicly owned facilities rented out for events are also prohibited as are any other indoor premises accessible to the public and any indoor workplace.
The Act further specifies at Clause 15 (1) means of public transport “whether or not it is carrying a member of the public” as well as any means of transport at the time transporting a minor.
Several outdoor places are also subject to prohibition on smoking including any area within five metres from a window of, ventilation inlet of or doorway to any indoor public place or indoor workplace.
Anywhere on the premises of and within five metres from the outside boundary of any health care, educational or child care facilities; any waiting area or queue including a bus stop or bus park; any stadium, arena, or other kind of sport or performance space, any designated site of historic or national significance; any space for the service or consumption of food or drink or any other outdoor place prescribed by regulations all are prohibited.
Additionally, clause 17 (3) specifies that any person responsible for any vehicle used for public transport or any workplace or public place where smoking is prohibited can become liable on summary conviction to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for six months if they permit any person to smoke there.
They are also liable if they fail to prominently post and maintain signs in the manner and form prescribed by the regulations, remove all ashtrays from any area where smoking is prohibited; supervise observance of the smoking ban; take reasonable steps to discourage or stop any person from smoking where it is prohibited, including denying service or transport to any person who refuses to stop smoking.
This offence is not limited only to tobacco sticks but extends to electronic nicotine delivery systems and any other product that “produces an emission that could be confused with tobacco smoke or that simulates smoking.”
Part VI which extends for three very detailed clauses prohibits all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This prohibition includes any tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship that promote or are likely to promote a business in the tobacco industry, directly or indirectly.
Under this section a natural person (individual) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $200,000 and imprisonment for three months while a body corporate (company) can be fined $9 million.
Additionally any recipient of a prohibited sponsorship contribution or intermediary that facilitates any such contribution, forfeits the sum received as contribution.
The Act provides for six categories of exceptions under this section, they include a price list made available by request, depictions of tobacco products or tobacco use in media where the depiction is purely incidental or is justified by reasons of historical accuracy or legitimate journalistic, artistic or academic expression; political, social or scientific commentary about tobacco products or tobacco use.
Also included are the presentation of information that is necessary for required corporate reporting; product information made accessible to persons within the tobacco industry who need the information for trading decisions, and a tobacco manufacturer’s newsletter destined, exclusively for the manufacturer’s employees, contractors, suppliers and business partners.
The sections further requires, ‘for purposes of compliance” that manufacturers, wholesale distributors and importers shall provide to the minister a report on any tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship effected during a reporting period.
Those who refuse commit an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine of two million dollars and imprisonment for six months.
In Part IV of the Act which addresses administration, inspections and enforcement, persons become liable upon summary conviction to a fine of $400,000 and imprisonment for six months.
The specific offences under this section include being responsible for a place or vehicle and failing to provide reasonable assistance to an authorized officer who has entered this space for the purposes of enforcing the act.
Other offences include denying, obstructing or hindering an authorized officer from duties under the Act; Knowingly making any false or misleading statement, verbally, or in writing or refusing to provide requested information to an authorized officer and removing, altering or interfering in any way with any article ordered to be stored under the Act without the authority of the authorized officer.