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Amended Tobacco Act aims to further protect children from the effects of smoking

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

On 31 July, 2016 the Tobacco Control Act 2015 replaced the Tobacco Products (Public Health) Act 1987. The Act is intended to protect children from tobacco products, strengthen provisions controlling smoking and to control the sale and use of e-cigarettes and cigarette rolling papers in order to protect human health and in particular reduce exposure to chronic disease risk factors.

The Department of Health would like to inform the public that from 1 August, there is a ban on smoking, including e-cigarettes, both inside and anywhere outside certain government premises. These premises include health care facilities, residential care facilities, educational, daycare and preschool facilities, plus the bus and ferry terminals. Smoking inside all Government premises, including vehicles, has been banned for a decade.

The new Act also controls tobacco advertising and sale in order to protect human health, and is generally intended to protect children from tobacco products.

Some of the major changes or additions compared to the 1987 Act are:

  • controls of tobacco descriptors (no use of the words mild or light allowed), prohibition on flavoured tobacco, controls over tobacco product advertising that is attractive to children and controls on promotions to prevent children from obtaining and using tobacco products;
  • the vaping of electronic cigarettes will be on par with the existing prohibition on smoking inside;
  • cigarette rolling papers have been designated as tobacco products so that they cannot be purchased by minors;
  • inspectors have been given authority to seize products that contravene the Act;
  • The size and wording of health warnings on tobacco will change (warnings will have to be larger, taking up 30% of the principal panel of the package) and the requirement to state the amount of tar contained in cigarettes has been removed.

Minister of Health and Seniors, the Hon. Jeanne Atherden, CA, CPA, JP, MP, said, “According to the Centers for Disease Control, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smokers have a significantly increased risk of multiple cancers, particularly lung cancer, and are at far greater risk of heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other fatal and non-fatal conditions. This new tobacco control legislation aims to reduce the number of people who contract smoking-related diseases, and particularly aims to help prevent the next generation from starting to smoke.”

“The Department of Health’s vision is ‘healthy people in healthy communities’,” said Director of Health, David Kendell. “We recognise that the change will prove a major adjustment for many smokers, but we believe all will understand that it is the right action to take.“