Health Minister settles misconceptions of tobacco control laws – meets with representatives of the industry

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 10, 2018

A meeting between officials from the Ministry of Public Health and representatives and lawyers of the Demerara Tobacco Company (DEMTOCO), today, sought to clarify specific areas of enforcement of Guyana’s Tobacco control legislation.

The team from the Ministry of Public Health who met with representatives of the tobacco industry.

The meeting spearheaded by Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence was convened with the industry to ensure compliance with the new laws. This is against WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and is unlike what has ever happened in other countries enforcing tobacco control laws.

Clarity was sought on the publishing of the commencement order. Regulations from the law regarding the packaging and labelling of tobacco products will be issued by the ministry shortly, giving the tobacco industry nine months to comply with the detailed regulations.

Demerara Tobacco Company’s lawyers and executives who met with the team from the Ministry of Public Health.

During the meeting it was clarified that the industry will be restricted from advertising tobacco brands, promoting products with their brands and sponsoring events of any kind. Further, public displays of tobacco products for commercial use is also prohibited.

It was also pointed out that since the law is already enforced, the clause that prohibits smoking in public places and public transportation must be observed. This section of the legislation protects persons from second-hand smoke.

Minister Lawrence detailed that any act assented to by the president is “live and legal.” Therefore, the tobacco industry is expected to comply in detail with various aspects of this regulation. President David Granger assented to the bill in July 2017 however, the commencement order was issued on December 15, 2017, by the Public Health Minister.

“We are not hiding behind legislation, instead, the intention is to move forward in a positive direction and have the full compliance of the tobacco industry,” Minister Lawrence stated.


By: Delicia Haynes.


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