South Sudan tightens screws on their ‘no smoking in public’ law

Smoking in public prohibited. Photo: Istockphoto.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA (ADV) – South Sudanese police recently arrested 17 people including a Minister from one of the East African countries for public smoking.

Though the country’s laws, the Tobacco Control Act 2015 which prohibits people from smoking in public spaces entered in force in May 2016.

Since the Act came into practice, at least three people have been convicted for smoking in public.

“Over weekend we arrested at least 17 people in bars and they were detained at Kabalagala Police Division,” Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman, Luke Owoyesigyire.

“The arrested foreign Minister only identified himself in the morning during suspects’ parade. However, he has been released after establishing his particulars. Police raided Kampala Forest, De Posh and Savanah bars on Saturday evening where they arrested the suspects.”

Although police declined to state whether the Minister will be arraigned in court, sources say he might not be taken to court in order to avoid ruining the diplomatic relationship between two countries.

Owoyesigyire said the other suspects are to be arraigned in court on charges of selling and smoking tobacco contrary to Section 16 (7) of the Tobacco Control Act.

According to the Tobacco Control Act, a person convicted of smoking or selling tobacco in a public area is liable to a jail term not less than one year or a fine of Shs480, 000 or both.

The owner of the bar in which the tobacco was smoked can be fined Shs20m and his or her licence suspended for at least six months.

Smoking of Shisha tobacco is popular among the youth and many bars and entertainment places in the country are selling it despite the ban.

Anti-smoking activists says it is leading to passive smoking thus affecting none smokers.

Smoking is linked to lung cancer which is one of the cause of death of over 13,000 people.

The cost of treatment of lung cancer is too high for individual patients therefore the burden falls on the tax payers to shoulder it.

© Bur-JHB – M.C / K.R – African Daily Voice (ADV) – Follow us on Twitter : @ADVinfo_en