Long arm of law catches smokers, vapers

James Kon

A total of 78 offences under the Tobacco Order, 2005 were recorded in November this year, with 75 occurring under Section 14(2) for smoking in prohibited places; one under Section 10 (1) for smoking under the age of 18; one under Section 6 (2) for selling illegal counterfeit tobacco products; and one under Section 17(1), which prohibits cigarette advertising. All of the offenders – 76 males and two females – were issued with various penalties under the Tobacco Order, 2005.

Twenty-five offences were recorded during ‘Ops Pajah’, a joint operation conducted for the entire month of November in Menglait, Kiarong, Jerudong, the Gadong Market and the Jerudong Market by the Health Enforcement Unit at the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Operations Unit of the Commercial and Law Enforcement Division at the Royal Customs and Excise Department.

The Royal Customs and Excise Department recorded 20 offences under Excise Order 146 (1)(d) which is bringing cigarettes into the country without proof of tax payment.

If convicted, the minimum fine is BND5,000. ‘Ops Pajah’ will continue to be carried in December.

The Tobacco Order, 2005 and its regulations prohibit smoking in public places to curb smoking and to protect the public from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Stern action will be taken by the Health Enforcement Unit against those found smoking or vaping in prohibited areas.

First-time offenders will be issued a compound fine of BND300 for smoking in prohibited places, while a compound fine of BND500 will be levied for subsequent offences.

Under the Tobacco Order, 2005, managers of premises are required to display ‘No Smoking’ signs at strategic areas and also take the responsibility to ensure that both customers and members of the public do not smoke on the premises.

Managers of premises face a fine of BND500 for failing to do so.

The MoH reminded the public to not smoke in public places including government buildings, shopping complexes, market-places, walkways, stalls and bus stations.

The public should also refrain from smoking at restaurants, food premises and within six metres from buildings where smoking is prohibited.

Smokers and vape users are urged to curb the habit to prevent themselves, their families and the public from contracting illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and asthma.

The Health Enforcement Unit of the MoH will continue to conduct operations and take stern action against those found violating the Tobacco Order 2005.

To lodge complaints on smoking in public areas, contact the 7192005 hotline or email [email protected]