The Upper West Regional Office of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says it will soon conduct a swoop at public places across the region to enforce the regulation against tobacco smoking in public places.
The FDA said it was illegal for people to smoke tobacco and tobacco products in public places and anyone caught in the act would be made to face the law.
Mr Kelvin Dafaari, the Acting Upper West Regional Head of the FDA, said this in Wa during a sensitisation meeting with some managers of public places.
He added that managers of public places who allowed tobacco smoking within their premises would not be spared when apprehended.
The meeting was in a bid to remind managers of places of public convergence of the regulation against tobacco smoking in those places.
It was also to court their support in sensitising the public on the regulation and the health hazards associated with tobacco smoking to the primary and passive smokers.
Mr Dafaari said the Public Health Act of 2012, (Act 581) prohibited smoking of tobacco products such as cigarettes in public places including lorry stations, market centres, hotels, pubs and drinking bars.
He said the FDA was currently engaging managers of public places and doing public sensitisation across the region on tobacco smoking in public places ahead of the swoop.
“We have realised that the use of ‘Shisha’ is on the rise in the region.
People think that because Shisha is flavoured it is not harmful, but it is even more dangerous than cigarettes”, he added.
He said tobacco smoking was not a crime in Ghana and that it was the duty of the managers and owners of public places to provide designated places for smoking within their facilities.
He said such designated places must meet the required standards, inspected and registered by the FDA.
Mr Dafaari also encouraged the public to report people found smoking tobacco products in public places to the FDA or Police for the necessary action to be taken.
Alhaji Nuhu Mahama, the Senior Industrial Relations Officer of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union, (GPRTU), Upper West Region, said the FDA’s move to crackdown on tobacco smoking in public places was in the right direction.
He assured the FDA that the leadership of the GPRTU would assist the Authority in any way possible in sensitising the people at the lorry stations on the effects of smoking in public.
Miss Eugenia Sagdiweh Wepiah, the Operations Manager of FANCO Hotel in Wa, said her facility had been enforcing that regulation by driving away people who smoked tobacco at that hotel after they had been told to stop.
She encouraged young people, particularly ladies who took delight in smoking to resort to fan activities such as playing football or swimming rather than smoking as that was dangerous to their health.
On his part, Mr Ishmael Kurug Bugbil, the Food and Beverages Manager at Delagio Hotel in Wa, said they were enforcing that regulation at their hotel by posting notices around the hotel and in the rooms telling clients tobacco smoking was prohibited at the facility.
Managers of public places including representatives of the GPRTU, hotels and drinking bars among others attended the meeting.