October 10, 2014 (JUBA) – South Sudanese authorities vowed on Friday to ensure that the recently issued ministerial order banning public smoking is fully implemented.
- A man smoking a pipe in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state (Reuters/FILE)
The environment ministry, in an order issued on Tuesday, imposed a ban on smoking in all public places within the country.
“Smoking in public places shall be banned effective from Tuesday 07th October 2014,” partly reads the order signed by environment minister, Deng Deng Hoc Yai.
The order defines public places to mean government institutions, airports, hotels, restaurants, seaports, public transport and parks, a cinema, theatres, football stadium and any other place where the public gathers in large numbers.
“Any person who violates this ministerial order shall be deemed to have committed a criminal offense and shall be subjected to a fine of SSP 500,” further stipulates the order.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTIONS
The ministerial order has drawn mixed reactions from citizens across the country.
“Certainly, someone woke up and decided to pass an order; they have not consulted and studied the situation thorough enough. Though a good thing to do, it is used here as a distracter from main issues that need to be addressed,” said Benjamin Kei Daniel.
Doug Turner said a ban should also be imposed on pollution from exhaust pipes of vehicles that travel through Juba streets, hence posing more health risks than tobacco.
“I would have thought there were more pressing health issues to attend to”, he wrote.
Dak Kuany Deng described the ministerial order as the best ever directive from government.
“I have been waiting for this [order] because since my last visit in 2012, guys have been taking coffee or tea in the restaurant, with sweets in their cheeks and cigarettes smoking at the same time,” said Deng.
“These are addicts who have respect for others instead they are infringing on the rights of others who do not even want to smell that smoke,” he added.
Lawrence Wodgang says the order should define distances within which smoking is allowed