Teenage smokers on St Helena will find their habit becomes illegal in public places from September 2012 – with the risk of a £500 fine if they break the new rules. At the moment, young people can legally smoke from their 16th birthday, but the minimum age will rise to 18.
The law does not put any lower age limit on smoking in private places.
A campaign has now started to help people on the island adjust to new legislation, which will also ban smoking in some buildings, and public transport. A competition to design “smoking kills” posters has been launched in schools.
The island has a significant problem with smoking, which is a cause of diabetes as well as numerous cancers.
The last government report on St Helena’s health service, issued early in 2011, said there were 570 diagnosed diabetics on the island out of a population of around 4,000 people – giving it one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.
Two brands of cigarettes are among the five top-selling items at Thorpe’s stores, along with Coca Cola – fizzy drinks with high sugar content are also a factor in diabetes. Nick Thorpe says cigarettes are among the first goods to sell out on the island after new deliveries.
Retailers who sell cigarettes to under-18s will face a fine of up to £1,000 once the Tobacco Control Ordinance becomes law.
Anyone found smoking in a smoke-free place may be fined up to £300. Owners of premises or vehicles that are covered by the new law face the same fine for failing to display “no smoking” signs. Owners who fail to stop people from smoking in their smoke free premises may be fined up to £500.
Read more about the smoking campaign from St Helena Government here.
The UK should follow Saint Helena’s lead. Smoking is horrible! I refuse to date any guy who smokes – it makes you stink!
Amy Du Prez, London