May 19, 2014, 10:43 AM
The move by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to enforce the banning of public smoking is long overdue and indeed most welcome.
A statement issued by the Ministry yesterday said all heads of institutions, organisations, workplaces and other public places are hereby urged to implement this Act as in such establishments, smoking will be allowed only in clearly labeled designated smoking areas.
According to the statement, a person who contravenes a provision of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred dalasi and not less than two hundred dalasi or to a term of imprisonment of not more than three months or to both fine and imprisonment.
The effects of smoking are enormous and severe. Therefore, the move to reduce the burden of addressing smoking related illnesses by the health personnel will no doubt be reduced to a large extend.
Despite many people smoke, there are also so many people out in the society who do not even like smoking at all. So why should the smokers harm them just for their own feelings?
The ministry and other institutions should also paste on walls of their offices reminding the staff and visitors that their places are non-smoking zones.
The general public must also help the police and the ministry by reporting people who may defiantly continue to smoke in public despite the commencement of the enforcement.
Our commendations also go to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare and her team for the move. We are in support!
The Act defines public places to include all government premises, all work places, hospitals or health facilities, private premises, vehicles and shops to which the public have access.
According to the World Health Organisation, over 5 million people die around the world each year due to both active and passive smoking.
This is a big concern and we must all take is seriously and promote good health behaviors.
The ministry also deserves praise for consulting the communities prior to the enforcement of the Act.
Meanwhile, in order to enforce the Act to the fullest, those in leadership positions must lead by example and must endeavor to equally obey the Act to deter others from smoking in public.