Public smoking fines under review, $45,000 cut proposed
Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
Members of a parliamentary committee reviewing the Tobacco Control Regulations have proposed reducing the fine from 50,000 to 5,000 for first time offenders.
The committee agreed on the sharp cut in the fines after committee chairman Rudyard Spencer spent an extended period trying to get two dissenting members to accept the proposal.
Committee members Dr Dayton Campbell and Hugh Buchanan were against the recommendation that the fine be adjusted for first time offenders.
However, committee members Denise Daley, Shahine Robinson and Marisa Dalrymple Philibert all insisted they would not support an amount exceeding $5,000.
Buchanan and Campbell had argued that the original fine proposed was intended to act as a deterrent to persons who were in breach of the tobacco regulations.
Campbell warned that the committee could run the risk of watering down the regulations insisting that his colleagues needed to have the political will to make decisions.
However, Daley hit back saying she had to use her conscience and consider young people who might be smoking tobacco for the first time and found in breach of the regulations.
At the end of the deliberations, the committee members reached a compromise on the fines to be imposed.
It was agreed that persons who commit a second offence under the Tobacco Control Regulations should pay a $25,000 fine and $50,000 for subsequent violations.
Other recommendations made by the committee include designated outdoor smoking spaces for businesses, no graphic health warnings at point of sale and text warnings.
Additionally, the committee agreed on 50 per cent graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, that private residences should not be defined as workplaces and for a nine-month transition period.
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