New Year tobacco ban to provide smoke free air

| 23/12/2009

(CNS): It may have been almost a decade in the making but at long last government is enforcing legislation which stops the use of tobacco in enclosed public areas and creates smoke free air in enclosed public areas. One of the key provisions of the Cayman Islands’ Tobacco Law, 2008 is that all public places will be smoke-free from 31 December 2009. Legislated smoke-free areas include enclosed bars, restaurants and pool halls, parks, any commercial transport, public toilets and public transportation terminals (e.g. the cruise terminals) and all shops and shopping centres.

A disappointment to anti-tobacco activists and health campaigners, however, the law does allow for designated smoking areas in open air bars and restaurants.
This designated areas are faced with certain restrictions and they must be clearly marked They must be at least 10ft away from the non-smoking areas and they cannot be in, or within 10ft of, any entrance, exit or any other openings of the enclosed section. The Law defines ‘enclosed’ as a place which has a full or partial roof and where the sides are at least 50% covered with walls, windows, blinds or curtains.

Despite the fact that the legislation has been in place for well over a year business owners are still being given time to comply with the Law. The Public Health Department, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Society and the Cayman Islands Tourism Association (CITA), has developed sample signs for tobacco dealers and restaurants and bars. Officials have also met with members from the business community to explain the new legislation and its impact on businesses.

 “We are all working together to ensure compliance, and although we urge business owners to have the necessary provisions in place by the end of this year, we are also realistic. As such, we will give business owners until 30 April 2010 to have the necessary, permanent signs in place,” Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar said.

Similarly, tobacco dealers – retailers and wholesale distributors – have until 30 April 2010 to register with the Medical Officer of Health (Public Health Department). This will be an annual registration and dealers must display their Certificate of Registration (similar to a Trade and Business License). There is a once-off non-refundable application fee of $100, and the annual registration fees are as follows: CI$500 for a retailer; CI$750 for a cigar bar; and CI$5,000 for a wholesale distributor.

Those whose primary customers are minors (children under 18 years), for example indoor play areas; recreational facilities such as gyms, cinemas, parks (e.g. Botanic Park) or games rooms, and vendors inside health care, educational and cultural facilities (e.g. the Harquail Theatre) will not be able to apply for a tobacco registration.

For many people the legislation did not go far enough and ban smoking in other public places that are outside such as the beaches and parks. However, even in what is considered a diluted form the legislation is expected to save lives. Research in other jurisdictions has revealed that smoking bans can reduce deaths from heart related diseases by as much as 35%.

Application forms for the tobacco registry are available from the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital in the New Year. For more information on the Tobacco Law and Regulations, business owners can contact the Public Health Department at 244-2621.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Has that man in the accompanying picture – the one with the big smile on his face so proudly embracing the "No Smoking" sign – actually ever read the new Tobacco Law and Regulations?

    And… Uhhh….??  If he has read the new legislation, I  wonder if he actually understood what he read? And if he indeed did understand what he read, I wonder if he takes this law seriously? Judging by the fact that the sign this man is grinning about does NOT meet the legal requirements as set forth in section 14 (1) (b), (c), (d), and probably (e), of the Tobacco Regulations, 2009, I would surmise that the man pictured by the sign is most likely ignorant of the requirements of the law or has not read them or he would not be so happily posing with a deficient sign.

    I further surmise that the building in the picture is a Government building so I shall point to the fact that Section 28 of the Tobacco Law 2008, binds Crown (Government). According to the law, the official responsible for this lack of legally mandated signage is in violation of the law and should be prosecuted.

    As for me, I shall be more willing to obey the law – and put up my signage, etc – when the Government sets the good and proper example and puts up proper signage on all applicable Crown properties (and vehicles, since the law defines such vehicles as "public places", in and around which smoking is prohibited and which vehicles must bear proper signage).

    (Let the confusion begin!)

    After reading the Law and regualtions, I had to smile.

    The way section 23 of the Law reads the owner of a registered premise can be prosecuted if anyone he employs or any person "under the control of" a person he employs breaks any part of the Law. Plainly read, for example: If a domestic helper of a person who manages a licenced tobacco-related business violates any provision of the Law – let’s say she is prosecuted for smoking in a place not legal to smoke – under the "vicarious liability" provision the employer of her employer is subject to prosecution! I am sure that this is not the intent of the provision, but clearly that is the way it reads and may be interpreted legally.

    I can point out more errors in the Law/Regualtions  but let’s see if any clever people here can spot them.

    (Good job, guys! And ya wonder why the country is in such a mess?)

    I saw such problems/errors in the published draughts but kept silent wondering/hoping that some bright-box would fix ‘er up before the Law became in effect. I suppose I overestimated the keeness of those responsible, huh?

    And how long has Government had to comply with the signage provisions of the law? Yet I have not seen a single solitary government building or vehicle with proper signage.

    The Law is the Law: For SHAME!


  2. the Watcher says:

    The former Minister of health did not have backbone to get this done. Thanks to the new Minister of health that will protect us from people that commit slow, painful, expensive suside and we don’t want to go with them.

    • Anonymous says:


      BS. Mark will have a hard time doing half of what Eden did for health services in Cayman. Take it from a health care worker.

      • Watchman says:

        A "Nice Man" does not a good health minister make.

        Not even sure how nice a man he was or just a business man,

  3. anonymous says:

    This is great progress. 

    The next step is to look at the more pernicious Cayman-centric smoke sources not covered by the ban: the dump’s chemical fires, pre-Ivan Omnibus exhaust, noxious jerk stands…feel free to add to the list… 


  4. frank rizzo says:

    Really guys, it’s not so bad. I’m a smoker and it will take some getting used to or maybe I will finally summon up the will to quit. I lived in NYC when the public ban took effect and the people who really wanted to smoke continued to do so, we just had to go outside. After the bars figured out how to prevent smokers from walking out on their tabs when "going out for a smoke" things were pretty normal. It’s not the end of the world. Actually, it was pretty nice to go out to a nightclub last night that no longer allows smoking inside and come out not smelling like an ashtray.

  5. Dog Man says:

    Appeal to all smokers

    Guys lets stop smoking and drinking alcohol beverges,that way  all the revenue that the Government collects on these products can be collected by other means.Most people like to treat smokers like leppers and look down at you.I pray every smoker will STOP for a Month or maybe two and lets see where this revenue comes from,by that time (one or two months)we should all be paying $50.00 dollars for a gallon of milk.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Implementation of the new law cannot happen too soon for me. Just a few days ago I was at the airport with my wife and young children waiting to pick up arriving family and we had to move away from the arrival area because an inconsiderate man was seated nearby smoking a cigar. Hopefully that will not happen after the new law takes effect.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Making bars and restaurants and other public places smokefree is wonderful.

    Smokers should definitely have the right to pollute their own area, but when the public is exposed to known carcinogens it is definitely unfair.

    No smoking areas alone are definitely insufficient.  The smoke wavers everywhere that smoking is allowed.




  8. Anonymous says:

    So Northward Prison is smoke free?!!! HAHAHAHAHA

  9. ex smoker says:

    I think this would be a great time for them to launch a quit smoking campaign to go along the law. Would probably get a lot of people to quit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Money better spent somewhere else

      • Let's Get Real says:

        Like where? Unpaid health bills for lung and other cancers caused from cigarette smoke (smokers and others affected)?

        Prevention is better than cure. Cheaper too.

        • Anonymous says:

          As if the government doesn’t collect money from cigarette sales.  A lot of the population here is transient so we wouldn’t be paying for their medical bills, not that I wish they get cancer.  I just doubt we’d be saving much money if any, and your claim is wrong.

          Yes free healthcare gives the government incentive to have us die efficiently.

          The government is broke now, not 10/20 years from now.  If your so concerned about people smoking get people together and start your own campaign.  Or is it easier to get other people to spend time and money on it?  Me myself I think thats a waste because I feel almost all of us by this time know the dangers of smoking, and I don’t want the government wasting money to convince me again.  Please take your jihad somewhere else.

        • Anonymous says:

          So…now that you have dealt with all the smokers, oh! those evil evil people…

          When I ask, are we going to start ostracizing the fat people??? Are you going to stop fat people from eating in restaurants? Are you going to ban them from eating fats and other terrible foods? ARe you going to ban them from planes, trains and automobiles?  Come on! they too take up as many hospital beds as the smokers!  what about all those athletes…addicted to their adrenalin, wearing away their joints…developing early arthroses? do we condemn them for taking up hospital beds? what about all the drinkers??

          Oh boy…when are people just going to stop judging the others and live and let live…we only have one life! get on with it!



  10. Sooo says:

    So when Sunset bar puts down the temp shutters for a nor’wester, it becomes smoke free – and the RAYAL Cayman h’Islands Police FARCE will step up.

    OR NOT.

    But, bring a dog in any day and you are in the gallows…

    Go figure – perhaps we comply when we want to…