“Smoking causes heart attacks“. “Smoking reduces fertility“. “Smoking can kill your unborn child“. “Smoking causes cancer of the mouth and throat“. Everyone is familiar with the warning texts and pictures on tobacco products. Lung cancer is directly associated with smoking tobacco products and is cause of death number eight in Aruba. Smoking also increases the risk of diabetes, which 16.24% of the Aruban population has already been diagnosed with. Within the framework of preventive health care, as included in the Government Program, the government therefore deems it desirable to take measures against smoking.
Therefore, as of May 2, 2022, the National Ordinance restriction on tobacco products (Landsverordening beperking tabaccoproducten) came into force in Aruba. This National Ordinance aims (i) to discourage the start of smoking (mainly among young people), (ii) to influence the smoking behavior of smokers so that they stop smoking, and (iii) to promote the protection of so-called second-hand smokers.
As of entry into force, the following rules, in summary, apply:
- smoking is prohibited in any building or areas of a building accessible to everyone;
- smoking in private vehicles is prohibited when minor children (<18) are present in the same vehicle;
- employers have a responsibility to protect employees from tobacco smoke during office hours and on company property;
- smoking is prohibited in all forms of public transportation;
- selling or giving tobacco products is restricted in certain locations;
- selling or giving tobacco products to persons under the age of 21 is prohibited;
- it is prohibited to give out tobacco products for free; and
- the sale of loose cigarettes is prohibited.
These rules apply to all tobacco products being a product intended for smoking, sniffing, sucking or chewing and which consists, even if only partially, of tobacco, even if genetically modified. This means that these prohibitions not only cover cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars, but also chewing and snuff tobacco, water pipes, herbal cigarettes, nicotine-free tobacco, all forms of E-cigarettes, shisha pens and other tobacco products.
The National Ordinance provides the possibility to establish further rules by national decree, for example with regard to advertising and sponsoring, new or modified tobacco products, presentation of the tobacco product, requirements regarding maximum emission levels and ingredients, technical requirements and methods for research. However, such decrees have not yet been made available.
We will have to see whether any of this will raise questions or misunderstanding. VANEPS is certainly available for questions and advice or to assist businesses in relation to the new legislation.