Over 600 Tobacco Order offences recorded in 2019

Azlan Othman

The Health Enforcement Unit of the Department of Environmental Health Services, Ministry of Health (MoH) has recorded some 654 offences under the Tobacco Order 2005 last year.

Fifty-seven offences under the Tobacco Order 2005 have been registered for December 2019 alone. All are under Section 14 (2) of smoking in a restricted area.

Of the total offences for December 2019, 51 were men and six, women.

Meanwhile, the Health Enforcement Unit along with the Operations Unit of the Commercial and Legal Enforcement Division, the Royal Customs and Excise Department have implemented several Ops Pajah in December in their joint effort to eradicate smoking activities in the Pasar Tani Serbaguna at wholesale market in Kampong Selayun, government buildings and business around the capital, Kiarong business area, Sumbangsih Mulia Complex, Kiulap business area, Berakas business area and at Indoor Stadium.

As a result of the Ops Pajah, the Health Enforcement Unit has registered 26 offences (out of 57 offences during December 2019) under Section 14 (2) of the Tobacco Order 2005 for smoking/vaping in prohibited places and offenders were fined.

Meanwhile, the Operations Unit of the Commercial and Law Enforcement Division, the Royal Customs and Excise Department recorded 18 arrests under the Excise Order 146 (1) (d) during Ops Pajah.

If convicted in court, a minimum fine of BND5,000 shall be imposed on the offender for smuggling or failing to provide proof of payment of cigarette tax in his possession.

The Tobacco Order 2005 and its Regulations provide for the prohibition of smoking in public places. The ban is intended to control smoking habits and to protect the public from exposure to cigarette smoke.

In an effort to enhance the effectiveness of the action under the order, strict action against those found to be smoking in prohibited places are taken by the Health Enforcement Unit by imposing a BND300 fine for the first offence. A BND500 fine will be imposed on anyone found guilty of second and subsequent offences.

The Tobacco Order 2005 also requires the manager of smoking places to display notices of no-smoking in public places and perform their responsibility in ensuring that customers and the public do not smoke in areas where smoking is prohibited as set out under Section 15 of the Tobacco Order 2005.

Premise managers who fail to perform such duties may be liable to a fine of up to BND500 for the first offence.

Among the public areas where smoking is prohibited include government buildings, shops walkway, shopping malls, markets, stalls, Tamu, bus stations, bus stops, restaurants, eateries and within six metres of the building line.

The Ministry of Health through the Health Enforcement Unit will always carry out monitoring operations for offences under the Tobacco Order 2005 and will not hesitate to take action and issue fine to anyone found in violation.

The Ministry of Health welcomes public complaints in an effort to curb violations under the Tobacco Order 2005. The public can contact the Health Enforcement Unit via hotline 7192005 or e-mail [email protected]