Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Owners and managers of public establishments and the general public are reminded that smoking in public places is unlawful as legislated by the Tobacco Products Control Act 2006 and regulated by the Tobacco Products Control Regulations, 2007.
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Ronnie W. Skelton said that there are too many complaints of the failure of members of the public to comply with these regulations.
Honourable Skelton said, “Many of our people are dying from cancer and we know that second hand smoke is a contributing factor. As a country we must commit ourselves to the prevention and reduction of cancer and other non-communicable chronic diseases by maintaining a healthy environment and making healthier lifestyle choices."
The regulations stipulate that a fine of $50.00 will be charged to any persons smoking tobacco or holding lighted tobacco within 30 feet of the entrance, exit or open windows of offices and office buildings, including public areas, elevators, stairways, and restrooms within the buildings. This stipulation also applies to health institutions, educational institutions, sports facilities, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, facilities rented out for events, premises in which children are cared for, beaches accessible to the public and any other facilities.
The owners or managers are required to post approved “No Smoking” signs in visible areas at the entrance to and within all establishments, including private dwellings with spaces open to the public.
No employer or their representative shall dismiss, threaten, discipline or penalize any employee who acts in accordance with or seeks to enforce these regulations.
Approved signs are available at the Help Desk at the Central Administration Building; Department of Trade Investment, Promotion and Consumer Affairs; and the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association.
"No Smoking" signs must be flat and rectangular in shape at a minimum size of eight and a half by eleven inches; must display the symbol for no smoking and carry the message in English, "It is unlawful to smoke in this location".
A fine of $125.00 will be charged to the owners or managers of public places who fail to prominently display the prescribed signs that clearly indicate smoke-free zones.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to the enforcement of the Tobacco Products Control Regulations toward a healthy Virgin Islands.