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'Smoking task force must move fast to prevent tourism fallout'

Published:Monday | July 22, 2013 | 12:44 PM

The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) says the task force set up to explore the likely impact of the smoking ban on the tourism industry must work speedily to prevent any fallout in the sector.



Tourism interests have expressed concern that the ban on smoking in public spaces, accompanied by new regulations, will affect the industry.



Speaking on Independent Talk on Power 106 this morning, JHTA president Evelyn Smith, said Jamaica’s travel partners have questioned the regulations guiding the possible locations for smoking.



Last Friday, the Government announced the establishment of a task force following a high-level meeting with tourism stakeholders.



The task force is to hold its first meeting today.



Members of the task force will discuss the background of the new regulations which took effect on July 15, the definition of entrances and exits, a workplace, and what constitutes a public space within a property.



On the weekend, there was more opposition to the regulations with Government Senators K.D. Knight suggesting that the regulations were oppressive.



Senator Knight, on Saturday, said he was prepared to mount protests against the new law if it is not brought to the Parliament.



He believes the regulations do not allow for smokers to exercise their right even under conditions that should not impact any one else.



However, the Attorney General Patrick Atkinson has described as a smokescreen criticisms of the recently imposed ban on smoking in public spaces.



According to Atkinson, some of the unfavourable comments are coming from those seeking to continue their unhealthy habit.



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