The bill to regulate smoking in public places in Delta State as sponsored by Hon. (Chief) Evance Ochuko Ivwurie, Honourable member representing Ethiope East State Constituency, has passed through second reading successfully.
The House unanimously supported the bill after the sponsor’s lead debate, making case for the regulation of smoking in public places in the state.
The Bill was swiftly committed to the House committees on Health and environment.
Leading the debate on the bill, Hon. Ivwurie said that “This bill is being introduced to protect every citizen of Delta State, all public vehicles, employees, all work places, all indoors, and the general public from the dangerous and harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the tobacco smoke that is exhaled or puffed off by smokers or is given off by burning tobacco and is inhaled by persons nearby. Around 85% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless”.
“The secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, and there is no safe level of exposure. Every time someone breathes in secondhand smoke, they breathe in over 4,000 chemicals. Many are highly toxic. More than 50 are known to cause cancer”.
Honourable members who spoke on the overwhelming benefits of the bill included; Hon. Angela Nwaka, Hon. (Barr) Rueben Izeze, Hon. (Barr) Pat Adjudua, Hon. Alphonsus Ojo, Hon. (Barr) Daniel Mayuku and Hon. Anthony Elekeokwuri
The Smoking (the regulation of) Bill is a sixteen (16) clause bill and schedules (2) that seek to control smoking in public places including, but not limited, to the places that would be listed in the Schedules to the bill and any other place that would be listed by the Regulations.
The bill allows for any person who owns, occupies or is in charge of the management of the premises of a ‘‘No-Smoking Area’’ to-
- Ensure that approved ‘‘No-Smoking’’ signs are displayed conspicuously at each entrance and in prominent locations throughout the premises;
- Ensure that all ‘‘No-Smoking Areas’’ are fixed with smoke detectors;
- Ensure that where anyone smokes outside the premises of a public area, it is not done within ten (10) meters from the entrance of the premises; and
- Cause a person smoking in a ‘‘No-Smoking Area’’ to stop smoking.
The bill seeks to grant ‘‘Smoking Area’’ that would be designated in accordance with clauses in the bill the right to have the followings:
- A good ventilation;
- Where necessary, equipping the area with ventilating equipment; and
- Not compromise those in the ‘‘No-Smoking Area’’.
Highlight of the offences as prescribed by the bill, is offence of smoking in the presence of a child under the age of 18 years in such a way, manner and place that may expose the child to any form of smoke and in any other ways, injurious to the child.
Hon. Ivwurie concluded that “This law, if passed, will help to protect and improve the health of every citizen of Delta State and the general public. It is estimated that the new law will save thousands of lives over the next decade, prevent serious diseases and help create cleaner and healthier enclosed environments for everyone to work in or visit across our dear State”.