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Smoking in public places illegal, says PNG Health Minister Sir Puka

Smoking in public places in Papua New Guinea is illegal and offenders can be fined up to K500, according to Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS Sir Puka Temu.

He said the Tobacco Control Act 2016 outlawed smoking in public places, with offenders facing fines not exceeding K500 (approx US$153).

Sir Puka said passive or second-hand smoking (the involuntary inhaling of smoke by non-smokers) could cause lung cancer.

“All public places are smoke-free by law including Parliament,” he said.

“The law is enforceable by police and agencies such as the Transport Department and the National Capital District Commission. The management of public places must cooperate with police.”

Sir Puka said public vehicle drivers and their crew must ensure everybody obeyed the law.

“In that way we will maintain, control and prevent illnesses,” Sir Puka said.

An anti-tobacco campaign and an awareness on the health risk posed by smoking will be conducted this year.

A 2017 World Health Organisation report on the tobacco epidemic in PNG says compliance to smoke-free zones is poor. They include public places, Government facilities, offices and workplaces, education facilities, universities, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.

The worst offenders are people using public transport.

There are supposed to be designated places in workplaces, restaurants and offices for people who smoke.


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