The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Time to seriously reactivate the No Smoking Ban in practice

Sunday, 16 June 2019, 08:48 Last update: about 6 months ago

World No-Tobacco Day, celebrated a few days ago, aims to raise awareness on the risks associated with smoking and press for policies to reduce the consumption of tobacco. According to ‘YesMyWellness’ the World Health Organisation (WHO), reports that around 7 million people die from tobacco use, annually. This number is predicted to increase to 8 million by 2030 if action isn’t taken.

According to Legal Notice 23 of 2010, smoking was banned in Malta in public spaces covered by a roof and enclosed by more than one wall or side, regardless of the material used for the roof, wall or sides, and regardless of whether the structure is permanent or not.

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The Association for Consumer Rights (ACR) notes with regret that the legal notice is not taken seriously by some commercial interests. The current practice seems to allow their patrons to smoke in the open-air even though they are within an area enclosed on more than one side and covered by a roof structure, often but not exclusively during the winter months. Owners choose to misinterpret the law in their favour and allow and facilitate smoking by providing ashtrays and not displaying No Smoking signs, ‘because they are outside’. This results in second-hand inhaling of smoke by other patrons, including children and babies

In addition, some places of entertainment still hold on to the first related law allowing designated rooms inside for smoking, a law which was later modified in 2013. No smoking is legal in enclosed premises, such as clubs and restaurants. Designated inside areas are no longer legal (and only limited to sleeping quarters such as a bedroom in a hotel).

The Association for Consumer Rights has passed a resolution, approved by all present at their AGM that strongly recommends that the Smoking Law is re-activated especially where smoking is outside. No Smoking signs must be displayed prominently according to the Law. In the interest of the general public, the Association for Consumer Rights invites our legislators to consider joining other European countries in extending the No Smoking Ban to other public areas such as parks and public gardens.

 

Barbara Buttigieg PR

Association for Consumer Rights, Malta

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