Ghanaian parliament bans smoking in public places

The parliament in Ghana has introduced legislation banning smoking in public places, with the new law awaiting final approval from the country’s president John Atta-Mills.

The legislation follows years of lobbying from health groups but faces opposition from restaurant and bar owners who are worried that their business would suffer as a result.

Under the new law, smokers would be prohibited from smoking in public buildings, on pavements and in parks, at outdoor venues, in car parks, on public or private beaches, and within ten metres of any doorway or window.

The new Tobacco Control Law also bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and prohibits people under the age of 21 from buying and selling tobacco products. The legislation also requires that health warnings showing the adverse effects of smoking cover more than 70 per cent of the display area on packets of tobacco.

The bill forms part of the enlarged Public Health Bill (PHB), which is designed to unite other existing laws relating to public health in to one piece of legislation, and Ghana's Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has been appointed as the regularity authority to deal with tobacco matters.