Oct 21, 2009, 5:29 AM
Despite efforts by the government to protect innocent people from the severer effects of second-hand smoking, smoking in public places is still rampant in The Gambia.
The Prohibition of Smoking Act (Public Places) Act of 1998, which was later assented to by President Yahya Jammeh on 23 September 1998, thereby making smoking in public places unlawful and punishable by law.
The Act defines public places to include all government premises, all workplaces, hospitals or health facilities, private premises, vehicles and shops to which the public have access.
Nonetheless, it seems enforcing this very important law is not effective at all.
One would then ask why this is so, considering the negative effects of public smoking.
The legislation is not only meant to restrict but to fine, charge and tax smokers, manufacturers, advertisers, and importers of tobacco in an effort to enforce the legislation.
It is a fact that public smoking is dangerous and inimical to the health of victims just like smokers themselves.
We firmly believe that considering the adverse effects of tobacco smoke on smokers and non-smokers alike, this Act must be implemented to the letter.
The non-smokers inhale the smoke from the cigarettes of smokers, and thus are exposed to the same adverse health conditions as smokers, and this danger increases with the frequency of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
Smoking increases the risks of heart conditions like atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to the build-up of fatty substances in the arteries, which in turn leads to deterioration.
According to health experts, this causes the walls of the arteries to thicken, leading to a decreased supply of oxygen to the heart.
The fact of the matter is that the more the exposure to public smoking, the more the risk of disease.
Public smoking should definitely be stopped for the benefit of public health and the environment.
We, therefore, need to enforce the anti-public smoking laws now!