Brunei aims to go smoke-free by 2016
THE government is mulling over expanding its restrictions on smoking in public places as it seeks to make all public places smoke-free by 2016.
A Ministry of Health official yesterday said authorities were in the process of increasing the number of smoke-free areas in a move to reduce tobacco use as part of the country’s efforts to tackle the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Dr Norhayati Hj Kassim, head of Health Promotion Centre, disclosed that they were targeting locations “where the public will visit or congregate”, but added that finer details were still being discussed.
Under the Tobacco Order 2005, she explained there were currently 28 categories of specified buildings that have been identified as smoke-free such as indoor workplaces, government premises, restaurants and public transport.
Smoking is also banned on sidewalks near business premises and within a six-metre radius from any smoke-free building as well as public staircases, hospitals and clinics.
To raise the effectiveness of anti-smoking efforts, the law was amended in 2012 to include a greater number of smoke-free areas. However, Dr Norhayati said they were looking to add more places to the smoking ban to protect the public from the dangers of tobacco.
If convicted, any person found guilty of flouting the smoking ban could be punished with a fine of up to $1,000 under Prohibition of Smoking in the Tobacco Order 2005.
She said the National Tobacco Control Committee was unanimous on the various anti-smoking efforts that have been implemented, reiterating their commitment to reducing tobacco use particularly among the youth.
“We have achieved quite a lot. In ASEAN, we’re one of the countries that have advanced in terms of actions recommended as per the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” she noted.
In addition to the expansion of smoke-free places, the government has also increased tobacco taxes from 62 to 83 per cent of the actual price as well as enlarged the pictorial health warnings on cigarette packaging to 75 per cent of the surface area.
More smoking cessation services have also been provided with 17 clinics available at health centres, National Dental Centre and a district hospital.
The Brunei Times