Police should be enforcing no smoking laws

The Ministry of Police is in charge of enforcing the law that prohibits smoking in public places.  

And with increasing public concerns at the effects of smoking on non-smokers (second hand smoking), the Ministry of Health is currently working with the Police to ensure enforcement of the tobacco legislation is effected. 

“In enforcing any law, it is the Police that have that sole duty, whereas we assist their work in any way like through public awareness. 

“Everyone also has a human right under the constitution to tell the person smoking in public to stop or get rid of their cigarettes – people found smoking in public will be fined,” a MOH official told the Samoa Observer. 

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The Ministry is currently facing challenges in enforcing the law, according to the official, as the risk of nonsmokers to cancer through exposure is very high. Consequently, the Samoa Cancer Society is also working with the Ministry to ensure the risk in public places are minimized. 

“Even if a person doesn’t smoke, being exposed to fumes from a cigarette product has the potential to increase the risks of cancer, respiratory issues and death.

“People just go out smoking in public places and around other people. That goes to say that they do not know what the law - meaning there is not enough education and they are blatantly ignoring it, not wanting to adhere to the law.

“Tobacco shouldn’t just be the government’s problem. It should also be our responsibility to adhere to the law,” said the Samoa Cancer Society CEO, Shelley Burich. 

She also added that everyone has rights as citizens to let other people know when they are breaking the law. 

“And if we don’t speak up then we are not doing our duty, we shouldn’t always complain about what the government is not doing but also we have a voice to put our hand up to be responsible.”

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