The Governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has announced a ban on smoking in public places in Barbados starting October 1st, 2010, and has sought to clear the air on the matter of how businesses would be affected.
Member of parliament, and Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, has revealed that there will be fines for both smokers, and businesses, that don’t clamp down on persons lighting up.
It covers rum-shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, Government buildings and some places of “national significance” such as libraries and museums.
Smokers found guilty of breaking the regulations may face a $500 fine or a 12-month prison term – or both.
Businesses having not taken steps to prevent smoking on their premises can be fined as much as $5 000, or be imprisoned for 12 months, or both. Businesses will therefore be obligated to display prominent No Smoking signs in at least two places on the premises.
Senior Medical Officer, Chronic Diseases, Dr. Kenneth George, has described a "public place" as any area has a permanent or temporary roof, that is either fully or substantially enclosed to which the public has access.
“This legislation seeks to protect vulnerable individuals and groups from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke”, says Minister of Health Donville Inniss.
According to the Barbadostoday online newspaper, Bar operators in Barbados are referring to the government's decision to make Barbados a smoke free environment, could result in some of them having to close their doors.
One bar owner said it is his business if he allow patrons to smoke in his bar, and that the government will not stop him. He further stated that 95% of persons who patronize his bar also smoke. He believes the 5% who don't smoke can maybe stay away.