Enforcement of legislation seeing decrease in tobacco use – Health Minister

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, MP, said steps by the government to reduce the consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke in Guyana, have proven successful.

Dr. Anthony made the statement on Tuesday at the Ministry of Health, in response to the report on the global progress on the implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC.)

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony MP

In 2017, Guyana passed the Tobacco Control Act, which allows for the establishment of the National Tobacco Control Council. The council regulates the use of tobacco and its products.

Minister Anthony said the enforcement of the legislation and its regulation has led to a dramatic reduction in tobacco advertising and promotion in traditional mass media. It has also led to a decline in sponsorship and lobbying.

“Our packaging and labelling regulations adopted in 2018 are consistent with the graphic health warnings and tobacco advertising guidelines. All importers now comply with our packaging guidelines. We note the increasing popularity of the novel and emerging tobacco products, such as water pipe, tobacco. More enforcement will be done to ensure compliance with the law.”

Minister Anthony said the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the government’s challenges to reduce tobacco consumption. However, he assured that there will be a renewed effort to reduce tobacco consumption and its products.

“Guyana reaffirms our commitment prioritising tobacco control and to implementing the convention. We recognise the support of the WHO and PAHO, the FCTC and the parties in our region in our country’s success.”

According to the WHO, the purpose of the FCTC is to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco use, and exposure from tobacco smoke.

Guyana’s Tobacco Control Act prevents smoking in any indoor workplace or public space, public transport or any means of transport carrying a minor.

Persons are also prohibited from smoking within five meters of a window, doorway, or from the outside boundary of a healthcare, educational or child care facility.

Stadiums, national place of significance or any place of commercial service of food or drinks are also places where smoking is prohibited.