Health Ministry Statement: Tobacco Control Act

August 17, 2015

The Tobacco Control Act 2015 is intended to make smoking less available and attractive to children the Ministry said, with the Minister of Health, Seniors and Health, Jeanne Atherden saying that “Bermuda is years behind other jurisdictions” when it comes to implementing obligations to the World Health Organization [WHO] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC].

The Ministry is also advising the public that the Act, as proposed, will prohibit the sale of flavoured tobacco products in Bermuda.

The full statement follows below:

The Tobacco Control Bill 2015 implements obligations to the World Health Organization [WHO] Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [FCTC]. The overall intent of the Convention is to reduce demand for tobacco products because their use is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the world.

In the last decade international controls of these known carcinogens have escalated, and the intent of the Tobacco Control Act 2015 is to update Bermuda’s tobacco control laws.

The Minister of Health, Seniors and Health, Jeanne Atherden said: “Bermuda is years behind other jurisdictions regarding the implementation of these obligations and is not as aggressive as other jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions are already on the third/fourth amendments to their tobacco control laws since the FCTC- this is only Bermuda’s second amendment.”

The Minister continued, “For example: Trinidad and Tobago has regulations [2010] regarding cigarette packaging that include graphic pictures about the harm of cigarette smoking – the Tobacco Control Act 2015 contains provisions regarding health warning labels only.

Other jurisdictions with graphic pictures include Canada, the UK and Australia. The Minister said the Bill may seem aggressive to the tobacco industry because it provides more detailed regulation than the 1987 Act and the 2005 Act amendments, but it doesn’t go as far as other jurisdictions on the regulations of tobacco sale and use.

“The Government has an obligation when a convention is extended to Bermuda by the UK to implement laws that are compliant with that Convention- this Bill satisfies most, but not all, of those obligations.” The Ministry of Health, Seniors and Environment is advising the public that the Tobacco Control Act 2015 as proposed will prohibit the sale of flavoured tobacco products in Bermuda. The Minister said, “Bermuda is not isolated in its thinking about flavoured tobacco.

The US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] is now examining options for federally regulating flavored tobacco as well. In 2009 the US Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, prohibited the sale of cigarettes containing any characterizing flavors.”

The following extract from a 2014 FDA document shows a similar policy intent with the Tobacco Control Act 2015 which is intended to protect children and young people from the hazards of smoking, “Young adults often mistakenly think non-cigarette tobacco products are safe alternatives to cigarettes. Research has shown that youth are also particularly vulnerable to the appeal of novel tobacco products.

Because of their addictiveness and the marketing and sale of these products [and their subsequent use by youth], some non-cigarette tobacco products can introduce youth into a lifetime of addicted tobacco product use and related harms, including premature death.

The first nationally representative study [derived from more than 4,000 young adults aged 18 to 34] to examine the prevalence of the use of flavored tobacco products following the 2009 FDA flavor ban in cigarettes found that 20 percent of tobacco users in the study currently use a flavored tobacco product. The most common flavored products include flavored pipe tobacco, little cigars, and hookah tobacco.

Research has shown that flavored product use is higher among 18-to-24-year-olds than 25-to-34-year-olds, and that sugar preference is strongest among youth and young adults and declines with age. Such findings indicate that flavored product use may influence tobacco-use patterns in young adulthood, a critical period when lifelong patterns of tobacco use are often established.”

The Report of the Survey of Students on Knowledge and Attitudes of Drugs and Health 2012 by the Department of National Drug Control [NDC] stated that children in Bermuda first start using cigarettes at 8 years old. Respondents in the 2007 Youth Tobacco Survey stated that no one had refused to sell them cigarettes because of age. Cigarettes can be purchased individually or in small packages in local stores making them more affordable for children.

Furthermore, there is no age restriction on the sale of cigarette rolling papers. Cigarette advertising is featured at points of sale in local retail establishments, sometimes in close proximity to displays of children’s toys.

Middle and high school survey participants reported that cigarettes were being offered locally as a promotion for them to try, and that they were in possession of cigarette branded tee shirts, pens, and backpacks.

The Tobacco Control Act 2015 is intended to make smoking less available and attractive to children.

The full bill follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (3)

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  1. sage says:

    Cancer sticks kill millions (of humans) yearly, overburden the health system costing everyone, have NO use otherwise and all WHO and our leaders can do is tighten rules they don’t enforce now? Why is alcohol sponsorship still ok? (AC, football etc.) Clearly the sky high fines were conceived of by our over-paid over-entitled drafters of legislation. (they wanted a $2000 fine for no seatbelt). Tobacco drug dealers call the new laws “barbaric”. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny.

  2. Paget says:

    Thank you Minister Atherden for doing the right thing for the right reason, despite the ridiculous criticisms from certain people. It is absolutely 100 percent factual that:

    Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) deaths.

    About 8.6 million people in the U.S. have at least one serious illness caused by smoking. That means that for every person who dies of a smoking-related disease, there are 20 more people who suffer from at least one serious illness associated with smoking.

    Among current smokers, chronic lung disease accounts for 73 percent of smoking-related conditions. Even among smokers who have quit chronic lung disease accounts for 50 percent of smoking-related conditions.

    The list of diseases caused by smoking includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), coronary heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, pneumonia, periodontitis, and bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. Smoking is also a major factor in a variety of other conditions and disorders, including slowed healing of wounds, infertility, and peptic ulcer disease.

    Smokers die significantly earlier than nonsmokers: 13.2 years for men and 14.5 years for women.

    Smoking is a poison not only for the smokers, but for all of the innocent people and even pets that live with them.

    I applaud you for taking these measures to reduce tobacco product in Bermuda and encourage you to please continue on the path of making it more and more difficult for people to smoke, to educate and warn people with the graphic statistics and facts and to do all in your power to reduce the number of cigarette smokers in Bermuda….

  3. Coffee says:

    I hate cigarettes …. Ban them all !