Issues on Tobacco Legislation

| 16/09/2008

It is indeed exciting that we are finally going to get a tobacco law passed and I would like to thank everyone who has struggled to make this a reality. I would like to, constructively, point out that I feel there are a couple of areas that may have been watered down too much in this final draft of the bill.

First the exemption of outdoor bars and restaurant areas is a concern. To me this seems a bit unusual.  Why is it ok for me to eat or have a drink indoors and not be bothered by smoke but outdoors I do not have the same protection?  

Anyone who has sat down wind from a smoker knows that being outdoors does not eliminate the problem of second hand smoke.  This will mean that the nonsmokers, to be assured to dine smoke free, will be relegated to doing so indoors. 

Also consider this question, should my right to be smoke free be less at an outdoor restaurant than it is at an outdoor park? 

Right now one of my favorite spots is an outdoor establishment it is now likely to become a “haven” for smokers.  Smoking sections outdoors will work no better than they did indoors in keeping nonsmokers and employees free from the hassle of smoke. Also another thing to be considered is the question whether cigars will be allowed in the above mentioned outdoor bar and restaurant areas?

My other concern is the exemption for Cigar Bars. I say let them have their cigars but not cigarettes.  If this is not to be changed there needs to be a very strict definition of what a “Cigar Bar” is.   They should be separately licensed and regulated to assure that this does not become a loop hole in the law

 I very much fear that if this is not done many establishments   will declare themselves Cigar Bars just to be able to allow smoking.  There needs to be strong regulations in this regard or I feel certain it will get out of hand.  

I am sure there is pressure from the restaurant and bar industry as well as others lobbying for the least effective legislation possible.  I think this is an important enough of an issue to make sure we get it right the first time and make sure whatever is settled on does in fact have “teeth” in it. Otherwise we are not really moving forward but just giving lip service to the issue.    

Again my thanks to all who have helped to get us to this stage and those who will continue the work necessary to make any legislation meaningful.

 

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am a "considerate-while-drinking" smoker. I do not wish to "inflict" anything upon anyone. If smoking is banned in regular bars, no problemo to me if a "cigar bar" is available. To a nice smoke-filled cigar bar I will go to congregate and conflagrate with my fellow cancer-candidates and my social life will continue as usual.  

    You see, I enjoy smoking while I drink and simply do not wish to give that up any more than your average obese person would pass on the gravy and mash potatoes. While on that subject: As I read the impressive health and mortality statistics it becomes clear that we should seriously consider supporting legislation to crack down on gluttony and obesity, and not just stop at smoking. 

    An abundance of studies all say the same thing "Obesity is an epidemic that will soon be responsible for more deaths every year than any other preventable cause of death".  Amazing!  It is predicted that obesity will overtake smoking as #1preventable cause of death. This presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to act now before that happens and stamp out fat’s insidious spread by enacting appropriate legislation with some teeth for a change. ( I am not so sure but I think that could be a pun?)

    Health and mortality statistics support anti-obesity measures as a very sound and wise idea that will save millions of lives annually, save millions more from serious disability and, moreover, ease the burden on the health care system and lessen health and life insurance premiums for everyone.  It makes sense economically, it makes sense morally and it makes sense logically. Why wait until obesity DOES become a #1 killer?  Why sit idly by while our land gets heavier and unhealthier? Why wait until more die? For once why not be pro-active and take steps now to eradicate this killer from our country?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m a smoker, however, there are different types of smokers – considerate, inconsiderate, pack-a-day, only when I drink, etc.  As a result, to protect the non-smokers who deal with our addiction, I’m generally in favour of legislation – banning it indoors and out seems fair – I don’tknow how you can discriminate between being exposed to it indoors vs out – exposure is exposure.  I respect that.

    I would also surmise that people go to restaurants and bars (whether they be indoors or out) for the primary purpose of eating and/or drinking.  Smokers won’t stop going (I know I won’t), but non-smokers may start to go (many of my friends with asthma, allergies, or just don’t want to be exposed to it would go).  One would think that businesses would be positively affected.  Sure, it’ll inconveniene me a bit, however, let’s get on with it, the facts are in, it’s my bad habit, we know the health risks, etc, etc, so why should those who don’t have the bad habit need to suffer as well – if they’re going somewhere where the primary purpose is to eat/drink.  I respect that as well. 

    When it comes to Cigar bars, I appreciate that the legislation needs to be ironclad to avoid any loopholes, but let’s get real – the primary purpose is to go and smoke – arguably cigars, however,  there aren’t many Cigar smokers who are offended by a cigarette smoker – pretty hypocritical if they are as far as I’m concerned.

     

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    It seems to me, by your reasoning, that someone who smokes should not be allowed to do so anywhere possibly adjacent to someone who does not smoke, whether this be inside an enclosed building or outside in an open space. As smoking is not illegal, this makes one wonder where would a smoker smoke? I would say , if what you suggest be added to the law,  then why not make smoking tobacco products illegal in the Cayman Islands? As we are now a tourist destination of only the rich, why not make a destination of only the rich nonsmokers? Most major countries have imposed smoking bans in public places, for the good of the public health. Indoor areas can and will concentrate second hand smoke that will harm the other people in that space, either seperated or not. However, when you propose that the outdoors should be off limits you are saying, MAKE SMOKING ILLEGAL. In every major country that I have seen the ban put into effect, smokers are asked to go outside to smoke, then they can return indoors. In many large cities in the US, New York, Miami, LA it was supposed to be the end of people going out to restaurants and clubs. Moving the smokers outside was seen as an impossibility in the UK, yet it happened. The pubs are as full as they where before, now nobody smokes inside. You want to smoke, go out in the cold, go stand in the rain, no smoking inside. There are few establishments that are in the restraurant industry that would want to try to use this "loophole". Look at every restaurant and bar in the US and UK. If they do not have an outdoor area, there is a area by there front door that has a bench or benches with a smoking can or poll right there. The only problem we wil face is in the area of the night clubs, who will want there patrons to be able to smoke. If the government puts the law in such a way that you must provide proof that you are a "cigar bar", then we will have no problem.

    Only my thoughts…………

    • Anonymous says:

       

      Well… why not make smoking illegal?
       
      I have yet to hear one really good reason…
       
      … but every year, worldwide, there are at least 4.9 million good reasons to make it illegal. (That 4.9 million is just the people who actually die from smoking, by the way, not the broken families and friends who suffer, because, under the mind-and-body altering influence of nicotine, smokers prefer to prioritize their antisocial habit over the well-being of those “nearest and dearest”.
       
      Not so very long ago, heroin was legal. Cocaine was legal. It was not until the 1900-20’s that many countries worldwide made these drugs illegal.
       
      Now, the 1900’s were not the most enlightened of times… it would be a good 20 years before women got the vote in the UK and the States, some 60 years before Martin Luther King had his dream, and yet, despite the short-comings of the world at this time, governments had the good sense to introduce legislation to protect their people from the negative effects of recreational drug use.
       
       … but not cigarettes… BECAUSE the links to cancer etc. were yet to be proved…
       
      Worldwide annual deaths from illegal drug use are now estimated at about 223,000… so cocaine AND heroin together account for about 1/20 or 5% of the deaths due to tobacco.
       
      Of course, making smoking illegal sounds “draconian”… draconian that is until you find out that the hospital bed which could have saved your life, or that of your child, is being occupied by a smoker… think about it for a moment.
       
      Maybe then you will reconsider your decision to allow the smoker their freedom of choice…
      … all the time you are forgetting… smokers are addicts… they really have very little freedom of choice. They no more have a freedom of choice than someone addicted to cocaine or heroin. Tobacco makes their decisions for them.
       
      That is why they can’t give up – even when they want to.
       
      That is why, when they are dying in hospital, and occupying your bed, they will ask their families to smuggle in the odd packet of 20 for them…
       
      (Surely not…)
       
      I once saw, right in front of my face… a cancer patient call her own daughter a “hard-nosed bitch” for refusing to bring cigarettes to her in hospital…
       
      THAT is the power of cigarettes for you.
       
      The facts about smoking and health – 30 May 2006
      Global
      • Smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death.
      • Tobacco claims 4.9 million lives a year, and if the present consumption patterns continue, the number of deaths will increase by 2020 to 10 million, 70% of which will occur in developing countries.
      • There are an estimated 1.3 billion smokers and half of them (some 650 million people) are expected to die prematurely of a tobacco-related disease.
      • At the current rate, the number of smokers will rise from today’s 1.3 billion to 1.7 billion by 2025.
      • Tobacco is an addictive plant containing nicotine, many carcinogens and other toxins. When transformed into products designed to deliver nicotine efficiently, its toxic effects, responsible for causing many diseases, are often magnified because the process of increasing exposure to nicotine often results in increases in exposure to the many poisons in the products.
      • Much of the disease and premature mortality caused by tobacco may be considered as side-effects of the disease of addiction. Tobacco dependence itself is a disease, described in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).
      Western Pacific Region
      • Tobacco kills more than 3000 people each day in the Region.
      • The Western Pacific has one third of the world’s smokers, the highest rate of male smokers and the fastest increase of smoking among children and young women.
      • Smoking is among the leading causes of death and disease in Western Pacific Region.
      WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
      • The Convention is a major public health treaty that gives people protection from tobacco for the first time by setting international standards on tobacco price and tax increases, tobacco advertising and sponsorship, labelling, illicit trade and second-hand smoke.
      • Entered into force on 27 February 2005; 127 countries have ratified the Convention, including 26 of 27 eligible countries in the Western Pacific Region.
      • Countries that signed up will be obliged to ban advertising and sponsorship promoting tobacco products, forbid sales to minors, force companies to print larger health warnings on cigarette packs, use taxation to reduce consumption and clamp down on smuggling.
      • The Convention has the potential to save over 10 million lives per year.
  4. Anonymous says:

    Tobacco or HEALTH

    Be proud you legislators who did not support the Minister of Health’s original strong Tobacco Bill for a healthy Cayman Islands.
     
    Be proud you tobacco lobbyists who poked fun at the Tobacco Bill, you have won some $$$ victories for the tobacco industry…..again.
     
    Tobacco is the only legal consumer product which when used as intended by the manufactures – KILLS!
     
    Every weakening revision to the Tobacco Bill is against a healthy Cayman Islands and the strengthening of root causes of expensive avoidable sickness, lost income, increased business costs, increased consumer costs, increased health insurance costs, increased Health Services Authority costs and yes, INCREASED TAXES.
     
    All subsidized by uninvolved keeping quiet non-smokers willing to enrich $$ the tobacco industry, just by doing nothing, the tobacco industry will win…again.
     
    TOBACCO or HEALTH
  5. Anonymous says:

    Smokers tend to argue that everyone should be treated equally.

    "Their" right to smoke is equal to "our" right to breathe fresh air.

    As a result, it seems that we non-smokers will soon have the opportunity to keep on trying to avoid smoke in "Cigar Bars" (however ubiquitous they suddenly become), avoid smoke down on the beach, or avoid smoke in outdoor restaurants. 

    Smokers naturally extend their argument of equality to standard heath care provision.

    Smokers will continue to inflict their antisocial habit and opinions of equality on the rest of us, until one day, when their time eventually comes, and they will eagerly occupy a hospital bed, wheezing about the interminable pain of their self-inflicted illness… stretching public health resources beyond their limits, and happily denying reallocation of doctors, surgeons, nurses and essential equipment and medial funds and facilities – limited resources which could have otherwise been put to use saving the life of an innocent traffic accident victim or a premature baby.

    Yup… every dollar spent on a smoker could have been spent on someone who ended up in hospital by accident.

    Personally, I don’t think I could live with myself…