THREE hundred and ten people throughout the country have been booked for smoking in prohibited places over the past six months, the Health Ministry's Tobacco Control Unit confirms.
Unit manager Aminiasi Tavui, while responding to questions sent by this newspaper last week, said they were working with the authorities responsible to create awareness to members of the public about their smoke-free initiative.
"For the past six months, 310 offenders have been booked as a result of smoking in smoke-free zones," he said.
"Regarding the juveniles, four have so far been booked in one of the amusement centres in Suva for smoking where a committal warrant was issued to them and later imprisoned. Minors or any person caught smoking in a prohibited smoking public place can face a fine of $200 and this needs to be paid within 21 days.
"Failure to do so will incur legal proceedings against them and this can even lead to imprisonment," he said.
Non-smoking zones includes amusement centres, theatres, sports stand meaning the pavilion and grandstand, hospital and clinics, airport terminal building, bus stations, internet shops and any form of water transport or public place gazetted by the Ministry of Health to name a few.
Mr Tavui said it was important for smokers to adhere to the tobacco control legislation to avoid penalties.
"We have started with our awareness programs in schools and we are also working closely with the authorities concerned to inform people of the legislation.
"The law will take its course when smokers are found guilty of smoking in prohibited places."