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Unit sets deadline

Salaseini Moceiwai
Friday, July 11, 2014

OWNERS of watering holes have been given until December to come up with specific non-smoking areas in their premises.

And if they do not comply with this during the grace period, they may not be allowed to sell cigarettes.

Speaking to the Labasa Town Council officials yesterday, the Health Ministry's Tobacco Control Enforcement Unit manager Aminiasi Tavui said Section 43 of the Tobacco Control legislation required nightclubs, among other places, to have prescribed smoke-free zones.

"The legislation was in effect since July 1 last year and this is a grace period where owners are given time to designate special areas for smokers," Mr Tavui said.

"We are giving them until December and if they still don't comply with the legislation, their licences of selling cigarette will not be renewed.

"So far, most of the nightclubs are complying well with the legislation and we only hope the others too will do the same thing so they can avoid penalties."

Mr Tavui said those who smoked in prohibited areas in a nightclub could also face a penalty of $200 while the nightclub owners could be liable for a $1000 fine.

"We've had meetings in Suva where the owners usually ask us why their fines are more than the smokers.

"We usually remind them that such is the penalty under the legislation and also their task of ensuring that smokers use the designated areas and not the prohibited areas on their premises.

"The law doesn't say for owners to chase smokers outside if they smoke in prohibited places but they should provide an area for them to smoke from. This is what the law wants."

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