Trinidad and Tobago smoking ban starts Wednesday, February 17, 2010..

February 16, 2010 - From Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010 smokers in Trinidad and Tobago will soon be stripped of their right to light up in public as they wish as a new law that seeks to curb the practice is to take effect this week.

In a release issued over the weekend, the Health Ministry said the Tobacco Control Act that was passed back in December 2009, will be proclaimed by President George Maxwell Richards and enforced in phases from Wednesday onwards. Under the Act, smoking in any enclosed public places is outlawed.

The Health Ministry said the new law was designed to protect people from the exposure to second hand tobacco smoke, especially children, babies and pregnant women, as well as preventing others from taking up the habit.

“It also seeks to prevent smoking by young people, especially children, to restrict promotional activities by tobacco manufacturers, enhance public awareness of the hazards of tobacco use, ensure that consumers are provided with sufficient information to make more informed decisions on using tobacco products and prevent illicit trade,” the release added.

At the opening of special meeting of the Council for Social and Human Development (a body made up of Caribbean Health Ministers) last week at the Hyatt, Port of Spain, Health Minister Jerry Narace said he made a commitment to undertake a public education initiative before enforcing all of the clauses of the Act and to work on the specific regulations to support the Act.

’The Ministry of Health will now intensify its public education campaign regarding the Tobacco Control Act, the upcoming proclamation, and the health effects of tobacco use and second hand smoke in general. We shall also be launching a Tobacco Cessation Campaign, as well as other clinical and non-clinical smoking cessation programmes to support the people who wish to quit smoking,’ he said.

Back in June 2009, Narace said that Trinadad and Tabago had the fourth highest prevalence of smoking in the region among school children between the ages of 13 and 15 years.

References: Smoking ban in enclosed public places starts Wednesday, Aabida Allaham,, 2/14/2010; TRINIDAD: New smoking ban to take effect, CaribbeanDailyNews, 2/15/2010.

Trinidad and Tobago has ratified (April 10, 2007) the
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Treaty.