Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 20, 2023 (SKNIS): Senior Minister and Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Six (6), the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas said the Smoking (Designated Area) Bill, 2023, is significantly important as its primary purpose is to promote public health in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The specific purpose of the Bill is to promote public health by reducing exposure to tobacco and other smoke in certain public places by designating certain specified public places as smoking areas and to prohibit smoking outside of a designated area in public places,” said Senior Minister Dr. Douglas, during the Tuesday, June 20 Sitting of Parliament. “We have to make sure that the area that has been identified for designated smoking is such that it does not further expose a person’s health to any effect of smoking. But we will try to make sure that we can put designated areas where people can smoke.”
As noted by Dr. Douglas, Section 14 of the Smoking (Designated Area) Bill, 2023, outlines the offences if persons smoke outside of designated areas. The Bill states that “a person who contravenes any provision of this Act or any regulation made thereunder, shall be issued with a fixed penalty notice for $1000.” If payment is not made an individual shall be liable to perform up to 20 hours of community service and in default of community service, he or she can be imprisoned for up to five months.
“We do not want to imprison anybody, but we want to protect people’s health. And these penalties are therefore outlined to remind you constantly that we have to protect people’s health,” said Senior Minister Dr. Douglas. “We are a government that is progressive; people have the right to smoke but we have to protect others while you exercise your right to smoke.”
The Smoking (Designated Areas) Bill, 2023, had its first reading on May 25, 2023.
“This gave us not only the parliamentarians here in this House but also the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis an opportunity to pay close attention to this piece of legislation as it affects, of course, the health generally of people and collectively of our nation,” he said. “It is true that the legislation, the Smoking (Designated Areas) Bill, 2023, is part of a series of pieces of legislation that we have been introducing especially as we deal with the matter of Cannabis, but this really is generally to protect the citizens of our nation.”
Senior Minister Dr. Douglas deemed the Bill an “excellent piece of legislation and wished it safe passage through the Honourable House.