Members of Parliament later this week passed into law a bill that seeks to ban the habit of smoking in public places.

The bill which hitherto its passage had numerous public bashing for the seeming delay; close to a decade, was passed after intense lobbying and agitation by both past and existing legislators.

This mandate was codified in the new Tobacco Control Law that frowns against smoking in public places.

Apart from the ban, the bill also kicks against the advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco, and prohibits young people under the age of 21 from buying and selling tobacco products.

The bill, which was earlier referred to the Select Committee on Health for consideration and for recommendation and subsequently taken through the first reading last week Friday forms part of the enlarged Public Health Bill (PHB).

The bill also mandates the printing of Pictorial Health Warnings on tobacco packs to cover over 70% of the principal display areas; where it warns that anyone caught lighting up cigarettes in prohibited locations faces prosecution and the payment of a fine, if convicted.

Speaking to the Press after the passage of the bill, the Cancer Ambassador of Ghana, Mr. Jeorge Wilson Kingson, expressed his joy over at exercise and commended Parliament for its bold decision to ensure that the bill was passed.

He added that the usage of tobacco was one of the leading preventable causes of death and disability among adults in the world stressing that ammonia, benzene, nicotine, methanol and arsenic were few of the many deadly chemicals that could be found in cigarettes.

He said it was his expectation that the President would assent to the bill to make it a law soon to enable the Ministry of Health to submit the necessary Legislative instruments (LIs) to Parliament to ensure the implementation of the law.

He made a passionate appeal to all and sundry not to use tobacco and urged those with the habit to drop it once and for all for their own good.

The new PHB seeks to bring together in one piece of legislation enactments on public health to
ensure equal opportunity for all in health delivery.

Issues contained in the bill include tobacco smoking, food and drug legislation, patient?s rights, international public health law, communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as environmental sanitation.

The PHB focuses on keeping people healthy and improving health rather than on treating diseases and disorders of individuals.

STORY: EVANS OSEI BAFFOUR, FROM PARLIAMENT

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