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Smoking ban on from today

By STACY MOORE and CAROL MATROO Wednesday, February 17 2010

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SIGNS OF THE TIME: Effective today the ban on smoking in public places takes effect. Here, Harrinarine Deo, owner of Kings Row Bar in Ste Madeline, is...
SIGNS OF THE TIME: Effective today the ban on smoking in public places takes effect. Here, Harrinarine Deo, owner of Kings Row Bar in Ste Madeline, is...

IF you would not like to be removed by police for the offence of smoking inside an enclosed public area you now must conform to the new law.

The law, known as the Tobacco Control Act, which took effect from midnight last night, says you should avoid smoking inside any closed public area. What you did freely over the past years is now an offence, and you can be hauled before the courts.

Now that the law is in effect, smoking in any public place is banned, and bar owners are ready to assist in enforcing the law.

Bar owners yesterday told Newsday that anyone who decides to smoke inside their bar would be warned, and failure to adhere would result in police officers being contacted.

In a press release issued last Saturday by the Ministry of Health, stated that the Tobacco Control Act which was passed in December, 2009, as proclaimed by President George Maxwell Richards becomes effective today.

The release stated that the Act was passed to protect individuals from being exposed to tobacco smoke, especially babies, children, pregnant women and the vulnerable and too prevent people from picking up the habit.

Owner of Kings Row bar, in Ste Madeline Harrinarine Deo, 66 had already began designing “no smoking” signs, to put up at his business place. “It isn’t any big design, but it is bold printed and clear writing.” Deo said holding up several of his signs. Deo told Newsday that he was all for the law, and his method to implement it (the law) was to make patrons aware. “Well I have these signs up and all around the bar and patrons can read it. And those who still decide to smoke I will talk to them again, and let them know they will have to leave.” Deo said.

During his interview, one customer who only gave his name as David, entered the bar with a pack of cigarettes and walked outside to smoke. “I starting early. I know the law coming into effect from today, so is best I start now. Is the law and you have to obey it.” David said.

Meanwhile, in Marabella “Kansas City” bar owner Herbert Joe,79, said he too was going to put up signs, but using Bristol board material. “I have not made the signs as yet, but I am going to. The signs are going to have “no smoking inside bar.” Joe said.

“Well, if I speak to them and they refuse to listen I will have to call the police. I am not going to fight with my customers. Is these same people that buy from my bar.” Joe said adding that the law was the law.

A short distance away at Cudjoe’s bar in Marabella bar owner Leewyn Bramble said that he was ready to speak to customers to make them aware of the law, if they are not. I cannot put them out, I will instead go to the police.

The owner of Charlie’s, bar, Roland Attong, 47 said that he was happy the law came to pass as he had waited a long time. “I am all for it, and for me I will put up signs, and inform patrons that they are to go outdoors when smoking.” Attong said.

However, Newsday’s survey in the north noted that many establishments, some of which provide smoking and non-smoking areas for their patrons, have not received any plan from the Ministry of Health as to how this prohibition would be set in motion.

The manager of TGIF at Queen’s Park West in Port-of-Spain, Marlene Bailey, said while they were aware of the ban, she was not sure what mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that it was enforced.

One owner noted that some bars, restaurants and other establishments where smoking is allowed may be caught unawares because of the lack of information from the ministry.

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