By Juldeh Njie
The commissioner of police medics, Alagie Kinteh, said the 2016 Tobacco Control Act which prohibits smoking within 100 meters of public places, workplaces, and public transport will be implemented from 17 December 2018.
He made these remarks yesterday at a training of thirty RAID volunteers on monitoring of the implementation of Tobacco Control Act, 2016 in St Augustine high school, in Banjul.
The Tobacco Control Act, 2016 was enacted on 30 December, 2016. Because The Gambia is a signatory to WHO framework conventions on tobacco control, it’s an obligation for state parties to fully implement the treaty by domesticating it in their national laws.
He said The Gambia has the best laws but implementation of the laws is always problematic because “in many cases witnesses of crimes do not want to come out and testify.”
He said in order for the law to be effective, people should be vigilant, report cases and willing to testify in cases of litigation.
“If you see somebody selling tobacco to a minor, engaging in illicit trade or smoking in public places, report the matter to the law enforcement agencies,” he encouraged.
He said another factor hindering the effective enforcement of laws in the country is because of interconnectedness and the “he is my relative syndrome”.
Meanwhile, Lamin Sonko, project manager, Raid – The Gambia, said as an oversight organisation, their role is to monitor and send reports to the government on quarterly basis.
He added: “There is a burning issue in the country, that of shishas. We have to know that no one is allowed to smoke in restaurants, or even in homes. It is a collective responsibility to ensure that laws are fully implemented.”