major milestone was achieved yesterday in the campaign against tobacco and smoking in public places as the Lagos State House of Assembly passed a bill for a law to ban smoking in public places.
The bill, which was passed on Monday, only awaits Governor Babatunde Fasholaâ€™s assent to become a law.
The bill, which scaled through the third reading, prohibits anybody smoking in all public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospital, day care centres, public transportation and restaurants among others.
The bill outlined what could be considered stiff penalties for violating the restriction, as offenders could be fined sums ranging from N10, 000 to N50, 000 fines or imprisonment.
A statement by the Assembly on Monday said the bill consisted of 16 sections, which explained the regulation of smoking in public places.
It read in parts, â€œIn section 12, posting of signs with â€˜No Smokingâ€™ symbol, depicts a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a circle with a bar across. It shall be prominently posted and properly maintained where smoking is regulated by the law, by the owner, occupier or person in charge of a â€˜No â€“ Smoking Area.â€™
â€œSection 4: Duty of owner/occupier, says that it shall be the duty of those who own or occupies public places to ensure that approved â€˜No â€“ Smokingâ€™ signs are displayed conspicuously at each entrance and in prominent locations throughout the premises.
â€œPenalties for smoking in a â€˜No-Smoking areaâ€™ will be a N10, 000 fine or imprisonment for a term not less than one month and not exceeding three months or both.
â€œAny person who repeatedly violates the provisions shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N50, 000 or six month imprisonment or bothâ€.
The bill also stated that the penalty for non-compliance by owner/occupier of a â€˜No â€“ smoking areaâ€™ would be N100, 000 or six month imprisonment, or other non-custodial punishment that the judge might deem fit.
â€œIt shall be an offence to obstruct a duly authorised officer from carrying out his duties under the provision of this lawâ€, the statement said.
It added further that any person who smoked in the presence of a child had committed an offence and would be liable, on conviction, to a fine of N15, 000 or imprisonment for a month or both.