‘Discuss Solutions To Make Bill More Effective’

December 7, 2015

“We applaud the Minister for recognizing the weakness in the policy, and I look forward to meeting with her in the days ahead to discuss amendments and solutions that will make this bill more effective,” Shadow Minister of Health and Community Affairs Michael Weeks said today.

Mr Weeks statement follows after the debate in the House of Assembly on Friday [Dec 4] on the Tobacco Control Act 2015, which saw Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden “rise and report progress,” which means the legislation will be delayed.

Minister Atherden says she will “rise and report progress” in the House on Friday

Mr Weeks said, “Last Friday, December 4th, the Progressive Labour Party Members of Parliament stood with me and debated against the Tobacco Control Act 2015, resulting in the Minister of Health needing to rise and report.

“While we agree with this bill in principle, in that we want a healthier society, and to ensure our children are protected from the ills of cigarette smoking, this bill presents several problems that prevent us from supporting it in it’s current form.

“Enforcement of this bill is one underlying issue that the Minister would be unwise to ignore. This bill will disproportionately penalize the patrons and owners of small businesses and sports clubs, with other places that facilitate smokers left to carry on business as usual.

“This not only restricts behaviour to an extent larger than necessary, but it also stunts economic growth for this business sector.

“Enforcement, however is only one of the problems presented by this bill. Small businesses such as convenience stores, would be hit financially when made to keep snacks at least 9 feet from tobacco products.

“If stores do not have the luxury of much square footage they will be faced with decisions such as which clientele do I cater to at the expense of the other, tobacco product purchasers or snack purchasers?

“Finally, banning the sale of single cigarettes has to be addressed. Purchasing single cigarettes is a way to not only have a cigarette without committing to an entire carton, but it also serves as a way for many to kick the habit of smoking.

“With the nature of this bill being to create a healthier population, it would be counterproductive to block an avenue many take to become non-smokers.

“Additionally, the penalties proposed seem to be excessive. This bill seems to be unnecessarily making criminals out of smokers and overly punitive with the proposed fines.

“After leading the Opposition debate of this bill, we applaud the Minister for recognizing the weakness in the policy, and I look forward to meeting with her in the days ahead to discuss amendments and solutions that will make this bill more effective in achieving its goal and benefiting to all Bermudians.”

The Tobacco Control Act 2015 follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (13)

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  1. hmmm says:

    If people want to quit, then just stop smoking….I tried various methods, but the one in the end that worked was the stop completely.

    You have to find something to do to distract you…. A new hobby or activity. You need to stay away from people who smoke.

    I found an an exercise regime helped me…Everytime I craved beyond that I was able to ignore, I did either 5 sit ups or 5 push ups. I got a good feeling from doing them and it helped.

    The only one cigarette thing means you won’t quit !!!!!!! If you still smoke one then you are still a smoker. If you want to quit, just quit.

    oh …and don’t replace the smoking with eating extra… important to focus on respecting yourself and being healthy..no good eating chocolate or bad foods to excess to compensate.

    Weeks is talking rubbish about single cigarettes. It needs to be banned !

    • Terry says:

      Tobacco is one of the most addictive substances on this planet.

      I am 66 years old and have tried many times to stop.
      There are only 24 hours in a day.
      I need sleep. Eat et al.

      Some can, some can’t.
      I am an addict.

  2. Smoking is Gross says:

    So the financial well-being of business that can be affected outweighs the health well-being of smokers and who they affect around them?

    Business interests before people. Interesting turn of events and change in philosophy.

    I say ban all cigarettes period. What good do they do for society and our healthcare costs?

  3. San George says:

    Let them smoke. Keep raising the taxes. A MP’S job is to find revenue Mr. Weeks – period. MP’s don’t have a right to make choices for us – tax these people. Tax sugar, chips, and cigarettes – these people will get rid of the deficit for you.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

  4. Betty Boop says:

    and I say ban alcohol, for what good does that product do? These holier than thou people get my goat. What if you were asked to give up something you liked? All smokers know that it is un-healthy but so are a lot of things that I’m sure people do.

    • hmmm says:

      A glass of red wine has tremendous health benefits. Abuse of red wine, not so much.

  5. watching says:

    The OBA clearly realized they were going a bit too far with this. If they were confident in it they would have passed the law. So I am thankful for the PLP to support the intent, but to point out the inadequacies in the legislation. Hopefully with some revisions a final product will be created that we can all support.

  6. Oh My says:

    How are children buying flavored cigarettes anyway? No child should be able to go into a store and buy cigarettes. That (if it is not already) should be thelaw. Not banning them from people who appreciate a good smoke.

    I don’t smoke but I do believe that the OBA Government’s law to ban these cigarettes is wrong.

    Let people smoke the cigarettes of their choice. If you ban the flavored ban ALL!!

    No one has banned alcohol yet!…..just as much a disease as cigarettes….I wonder why……….

    • Terry says:


    • Common Sense says:

      Banning alcohol has been tried – with absolutely catastrophic results. We have the same catastrophic results with the present prohibition on illegal drugs which has led to gang violence on an uprecedented scale and huge profits for the traffickers.

      It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation with tobacco. The tobacco companies will try anything to induce us to take up or continue smoking, and that would include producing flavoured cigarettes to attract younger people to the habit.

      I’d like to think that our Parliamentarians would get together on issues like this and try to do what is best for our health and our country in a spirit of cooperation rather than confrontation. Mmmm. What’s the likelihood of that ever happening?!