Published 20 June 2023
Buckie Got It, St Kitts Nevis News Source
SMOKING (DESIGNATED AREAS) BILL, 2023 PROTECTS NON-SMOKERS FROM HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SECONDHAND SMOKE, SAYS MINISTER MAYNARD
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 20, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Honourable Konris Maynard, Member of Parliament for St. Christopher Three, while lending his support to the Smoking (Designated Areas) Bill, 2023, has said that one of the important aspects of the Bill is that it brings about protection for non-smokers from the harmful effects associated with being exposed to secondhand smoke.
“If people are aware of the consequences of their actions and they wish to pursue whatever those consequences are, they must do so while not infringing upon the rights and freedoms of others. And so, secondhand smoke is a consequence of someone enjoying their own right to partake in smoking, but the science is very well proven and accepted that there are serious consequences and health problems associated with secondhand smoke,” Minister Maynard said during the debate on the Bill in the National Assembly today, Tuesday, June 20.
The honourable minister reinforced his point by citing the findings of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report which states that “there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke”.
“Even brief exposure can cause immediate harm. Health problems caused by secondhand in adults who do not smoke include coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, as well as adverse reproductive health effects in women, including low birth weight. Secondhand smoke can cause sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS, respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children,” the minister said in quoting the CDC.
He added, “Importantly since they have started tracking secondhand smoke, they have recorded at least 2.5 million people who did not smoke at all who died from health problems caused by secondhand smoke exposure. And so it is a serious public health concern for secondhand smoke and what this bit of legislation does is to protect the general public from secondhand smoke while giving those who wish to smoke an opportunity to do so.”
Importantly, Minister Maynard said it must be noted that the Smoking (Designated Areas) Bill, 2023 now prohibits smoking in public places, unless such a place is licensed as a designated smoking area.
“When this Bill is passed I would like everyone to know that smoking is now prohibited in public. That’s the first thing that this piece of legislation does, and if a person contravenes this act you can be issued with a fixed penalty notice for five hundred dollars,” the minister said.