The Lagos State House of Assembly, western Nigeria on Monday evening passed a bill that now places fine of N10,000, three months imprisonment or both for first offenders. The law for a law to prohibit smoking in designated places and vehicles, which was sponsored by Gbolahan Yishawu, the lawmaker representing Eti-Osa Constituency 2 at the House, had lingered since last year.
The law, which scaled the third reading on Monday, prohibits residents of the state from smoking in public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospital, day-care centres, public transportation, restaurants among others. Section 12 of the 16-section law that has now been passed to the state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for assent also instructs owners of public places to place signs with the inscription; ‘No Smoking’ or symbols as part of enlightenment for smokers and would-be violators of the law. Section 4 of the passed bill says that it shall be the duty of those who own or occupy public places to ensure that approved signs are displayed conspicuously at each entrance and in prominent locations throughout the premises to inform smokers about the prohibition.
In such public places, the owners are mandated by the law to create areas where people could smoke but that it should not be close to the vicinity. Any person who repeatedly violates the provisions of the law, according to the bill, shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N50,000:00 or six months imprisonment or both. For non-compliance by owners of public places, the law states that such offenders shall be fined N100,000 or six months imprisonment or other non custodial punishment that the judge may deem fit.
The law further states that any person who smokes in the presence of a child commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N15,000 or one month imprisonment term.
Where the offence of refusal to place the sign or symbol is committed by a corporate body, the director, manager, company secretary or any person concerned in the management of the affairs of the corporate body would be liable. In this case, he would be fined the sum of N250,000 upon conviction. The law states that it is an offence to obstruct a duly authorized officers from carrying out their duties under the provision of this law. It also give authorised commissioners of the state the opportunity to designate more places as non-smoking areas for the sake of effective implementation of the law. The law gives the state Environmental Protection Agency the powers to implement it while giving aggrieved residents who have complaints against officials of the state saddled with implementing it the opportunity to report to the state Ministry of the Environment.