By: JACOB MARCOS
The most anticipated Tobacco Control Act 2016 is now a law that would see much greater tobacco product control in the country, according to National Department of Health (NDoH) today (22/02/2017).
Smoking has devastated families especially young people in a big way so the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has resolved to passed the Act convincingly in Otober, 2016, according to the NDoH Secretary, Pascoe Kase.
“The important law is intended to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale and use of tobacco,” NDoH Secretary, Pascoe Kase said.
That would include strict controls on advertising and much strong controls on making smoking attractive to young people, Kase said.
“Tobacco use is a global problem and the human consequences are devastating. This is an important and exciting law reform for PNG,” he said adding that the new law replaced the previous law which was 30 years old.
“Our poorest people are hit hardest by the effects of smoking. Today in PNG, our poorest families spent almost one quarter of total household food expenditure on tobacco consumption. We also know that adults who cannot read are more likely to smoke,” the secretary said.
The secretary said that works have already begun to implement the Act in an orderly manner as to overcome challenges in implementing the important law reform.
Kase said the Act grants power to the Governor General to nominate the dates the various parts of the Act come into operation.
“This allows for an organized implementation process which considers the impact on affected people and businesses,” he said
Kase also claimed that some companies have recently made public statements about the effect of the new law and how the government should manage its implementation.
“These statements are both inappropriate and premature. The administration of the Tobacco Control Act is the responsibility of the government and its implementation is not dictated to us by tobacco companies,” he said.
“My department is currently working on a submission to the NEC which will request it to advise our new Governor General to issue a notice under the Act for the coming into operation of the section about the size of cigarette packets and packages of loose tobacco,” Kase said adding that it would give affected companies time to prepare for the reform.
By: JACOB MARCOS