Liberia Government Implements Public Smoking Ban

Liberia has started implementing the legislation introduced in 2008 that bans smoking in public transport, workplaces, restaurants and other places. The given ban also prohibits those under the age of 18 from purchasing smoking products.

The ban is part of the actions to control raised rated of tobacco consumption and the concomitant health concerns and costs.

World public health experts declare that it is still a big challenge to educate Africans about the hazards of secondhand smoke.

Liberian government implements smoking ban

Liberian government implements smoking ban

“For instance those people who are suffering asthma and sit near someone who is smoking may get a hyper-secretion, which in its turn will cause a pulmonary obstruction,” said Liberian public health expert William Roland.

However the rates in sub-Saharan Africa persist at the low level, health experts state that they are increasing quicker than anywhere else in the world.

Africa is the main leading growing market in the tobacco industry. Public health experts state it could become the place of a pandemic of tobacco related diseases, as heart attacks ad cancer. Specialists warn that these illnesses, though preventable, could spoil Africa’s already fragile and under-resourced healthcare systems.

The world Smokefree Partnership, which includes the American Cancer Society, tobacco consumption in more than half of the African countries, could increase by 2012 if the governments do not undertake prompt actions, such as prohibiting public smoking and charging higher taxes on smoking products to make them more expensive.

Certain restaurant owners in the capital worry that the smoking ban will affect their businesses. Others like Larry Togba declare that it will help.

“The majority of my customers complain about all those smokers in the restaurant. Even I lose some of my customers, I will be glad the government enforces this law,” said Togba.

Smokers as Tarnue Varnie in Monrovia are however against this law.

“I think that this is a serious infringement of our rights and I completely disagree that smoking in the public will cause any health hazards. This is a habit that we can’t simply put aside and I think that the government should concentrate on other important issues instead of talking about ban on public smoking,” he said.

The Liberian National Police are implementing the smoking ban, and business owners and other public institutions caught in infringement face fine of $10,000 to $25,000. Those who will be found smoking in prohibited places or facilitating the purchase of smoking products by youngsters face 2nd degree misdemeanor and fines of about $400.

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