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Smoking ban begins in Jamaica

Placard-bearing supporters of the new ban on smoking in public places regulations march in Half-Way Tree [PIC CREDIT: Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer photo

A BAN on smoking in public spaces came into effect in Jamaica on Monday (July 15).

The new law prohibits anyone from lighting up in enclosed public places all around the Caribbean island. Those found breaching said restrictions could be fined up up to J$500,000 or face three months in prison. Fines could be more than doubled for a second offence.

Last month Jamaica's Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson announced the ban during his contribution to the sectoral debate in Gordon House.

The Ministry of Health’s legal officer, Sheryl Dennis, has said the penalties would be applied to owners, managers and lessees of premises where breaches of the regulations occur.

Ferguson has said he would not be daunted by naysayers who are against the ban on smoking in workplaces and public places.

Critics of the new legislation have said the term ‘public space’ has not been roperly defined and note that the time frame for its implementation was too short. The regulations were announced by the health minister on June 25.

In 2007, a similar ban was imposed in the UK making it illegal to smoke in all enclosed spaces.

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