Tobacco ban remains elusive as date delayed again

| 30/10/2009

(CNS): The minister of health has denied that the Tobacco Law has been abandoned but has admitted that the commencement date for this legislation has been delayed again. A year after the bill was passed by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, the Tobacco Law 2008 has still not been implemented, and Mark Scotland said today that it will not come into effect until 31 December 2009. The law made its first appearance in the LA in March 2007, but more than two and a half years later Cayman is still languishing under a cloud of tobacco smoke.

“The amendment was approved in Cabinet earlier this week and will allow more time for finalising regulations and for putting the necessary administrative processes in place,” Scotland said, adding that the ministry hopes to present Cabinet with the final regulations within a few weeks, after which town hall-style stakeholder meetings will begin between late November and early December.

“These meetings will focus on educating people on the provisions of the law and will be open to the public. While we do regret this delay, on the bright side, the newly-scheduled implementation means that we will have a few extra weeks for public education before implementation,” the minister of health stated about the law, which was due to have been enforced from this month.  “In the meantime, in the spirit of the law, we encourage businesses to familiarize themselves with the new legislation. We also congratulate those who are already adhering to the new requirements.”

It is not clear why it has taken the ministry so long to develop the regulations. The law itself was based very closely on WHO recommendations and the legislation essentially bans the use of tobacco in public places with a few notable exceptions, which were added after opposition, for local businesses here.

A number of local activists have raised their concerns that the constant delays are being driven by some bars who believe the ban willundermine their business. However, no jurisdictions in which a public place tobacco bans has been introduced has suffered a loss of business as a result. A number of studies have demonstrated rapid improvements in the health of populations where bans have been introduced, with anything from a 17-35% reduction in heart related deaths. Most health experts now believe that literally 100s of lives are saved each year where bans are implemented.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It really is about time that Cayman introduced a smoking ban in enclosed buildings. Most of the smokers in bars/restaurants that make them ‘no go’ areas for me and my wife in Cayman are like me from a country where it has been successfully banned.

    But like Scotland, Wales and England learn from Ireland’s "mistake" and ban it from, say, 9am when bars are not even open instead of midnight on a Saturday when many bars were full!

  2. Uncivil Servant says:

    An excellent opportunity for us to establish another Department/Office. Could someone please let me know where I can find the highest rental cost per square foot for office space on the Island. I need at least 3000 sq ft to establish the new Anti Smoking Secretariat, Health Office, Legal and Education Services or A.S.S.H.O.L.E.S. for short, which will employ 27 people, all in Middle Management positions.

    • Anonymous says:

      I like your comments 9:52, funny but certainly some truth to it as well! Don’t we have bigger fish to fry at the moment than worry about the smoking law??? All the politically and american BS about the second hand smoking etc.? How about the constant intake of the flippin moskito spray and the really heathy diesel fumes and smoke from CUC not to forget all the good exhaust fumes we are daily blowing out of about  75’000 vehicles! Uuuhhh, Wow that makes tobacco smoke sound really dangerous don’t it!? Talking about human rights, where are the rights of the smokers?! But they all like to take the damn Tax money from the smokers don’t they! Nothing wrong with some Laws but they should be equally fair with designated Areas, Bars and Restaurants with proper signage ie. Smoking Club, Bar or Restaurant etc. etc. the once who don’t want to smoke don’t have to go in there, give the People a choice like the Bathrooms; Ladies and Gent’s! Some european City’s actually made that change after some Years of the now so non democratic law (according to the USA) now tabled in the LA. If they start jumpping of the Bridges in the USA endorsed by them up north are we going to build a Brigde in George Town???

  3. Anonymous says:

    Starting a smoking ban on one of the biggest "party" nights of the year- Dec. 31st – New Year’s Eve seems a bit ridiculous to me. If anything, start it on Jan. 1st to hopefully coincide with people’s New Year’s resolutions.

    • Anonymous says:

      The police are going to have their hands full trying to enforce that on New Years Eve, or maybe its a ploy for them to make some money by handing out tickets to people who will be so intoxicated that they will either forget the got ticketed in the 1st place, or end up getting disorderly conduct charges for failing to put their cigarettes out or arguing with the police. Evidently it is coming into affect on the 31st Dec because it is a Thursday and the last day before the new year that the Cabinet will be sitting, but they better hurry up that day cause they will all probably be going home at lunchtime for a half day…..Its just a another money maker for the Governement that the police will be able to enforce and convict, along with the only other offence that they seem to have 50/ 50 chance of convicting you on, not wearing your seatbelt. Next, they are going to pass law that makes it mandatory to wear sunblock because that can give you cancer. Or make it mandatory to wear radioactive clothing when using your cellphone or micorwave cause that also can lgice you cancer. So much for this so calle constitution where we are all guaranteed freedom of choice…..

  4. Marek says:

    Cayman’s new Tobacco Law will take effect on 31 December 2009, the Minister of Health Mark Scotland confirmed Friday.

    “The amendment was approved in Cabinet earlier this week and will allow more time for finalising regulations and for putting the necessary administrative processes in place,” he said.

    The ministry hopes to present Cabinet with the final regulations within a few weeks, after which town hall–style stakeholder meetings will begin between late November and early December.

    “These meetings will focus on educating people on the provisions of the law and will be open to the public. While we do regret this delay, on the bright side, the newly–scheduled implementation means that we will have a few extra weeks for public education before implementation,” Mr. Scotland added.

    “In the mean time, in the spirit of the law, we encourage businesses to familiarize themselves with the new legislation. We also congratulate those who are already adhering to the new requirements.”

  5. noname says:

    Good thing no one has to count on you to do anything.    Oh wait.  Damn!  Do you even take out the garbage at home?

  6. not proud says:

    And the Goverment wants to take more of our money to do what. Hire more ministers to do what?  2 1/2 years on this and still not done. What in the world is your excuse?  Even if you only showed up one day a week to pick up your check you should be able to keep up.  It would be better to pay all you guys to just stay home.  More might actually get done.  PATHETIC.

    The fact that your bosses let you (work?) this way?  MORE PATHETIC.

    The fact that our Goverment is broke and still paying you. THE MOST PATHETIC.  GET TO WORK AND EARN THE MONEY WE PAY YOU! You all should be held accountable for the work your not doing.  How about it Bush.  Is this O.K. with you.

  7. NSS says:

    I live in Illinois, a state which now has no smoking in public places legislation.  The bars have not suffered, even when folks must smoke at least 15 feet from the exit doors—even when it is snowing and way below freezing.

    Do the right thing, Cayman!

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS:  What studies are you referring to in the last paragraph?  Where can I get hold of the legislation? 

    CNS: There’s a lot about smoking bans on the web. Here’s a good place to start.

    Here’s a good news article which is a bit more palatable (a google search will turn up a lot more)

    The legislation is on the LA website. Scroll down to "Second Meeting of the 2008/9 Session".

    • Anonymous says:

      After reading the news article in particular, the figures you mentioned are due to people quitting smoking rather then being directly attributed to smoke free ‘public areas’. 

  9. noname says:

    Thanks guys. What brilliant leaders you are.

    Once again, money and stupidity trump human health and progress in the Cayman Islands.

  10. Anonymous says:

    anthony eden should hang his head in shame……

     good oopportunity for scotland to make his mark but another missed deadline would not surprise me