Tobacco Ordinance approved by Saba Island Council

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Saba – Today, the Island Council voted to adopt the Ordinance on the Restriction of Tobacco Use Saba.   This new ordinance will go into effect September 1st, 2023.

The ordinance regulates three areas with respect to the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products.  

First, it will be prohibited to sell tobacco and tobacco-related products (vapes/e-cigarettes) to persons under the age of 18.  

Second, to ensure products are sold to persons of legal age, retailers are required to ask for ID from anyone who looks under the age of 25. 

Third, it will be prohibited for retailers to sell e-flavored liquids to all persons. This includes all related products with a taste (flavor) additive, including disposable devices.

Jane O’Flynn, Head of Public Health explains why this is important.  “In recent years smoking, particularly vaping, amongst young people has increased on Saba, doubling since 2017. We received signals from the school and parents who are really concerned. We listened to those concerns and drafted this ordinance because we believe structures should be in place to facilitate a healthy lifestyle for the residents of Saba. In this ordinance, also banned is the sale of flavored additives. Many countries have taken this step recently, and I think we all share the same concern- nice flavors equals more smokers. We hope this ordinance is a solid first step to reduce engagement with smoking on Saba; particularly amongst our youth because all Sabans have the right to live a long, healthy and fulfilling life”.

Devi van Groningen, legal advisor of the Public Entity Saba adds that “where in the European part of the Netherlands tobacco sales, including electronic smoking devices, are prohibited to be sold to minors; on Saba such regulations were not in place. The national Dutch law, the Tabaks- en Rookwarenwet, limiting the sale of tobacco and related products, is not made applicable to the BES-islands unfortunately. Instead, we have very limited and outdated BES legislation, which consists of old transposed Dutch Antillean ordinances. While protection from tobacco is a topic national government regulates, we could not wait for national government to step in to have minors on Saba have the same protection from the sale of tobacco and vapes as minors in the European part of the country.”

This ordinance applies to all retailers that sell tobacco products, including, but not limited to, shops, bars, and restaurants. All establishments that sell these products will be required to post signs informing customers about the provisions of the ordinance. Retailers will be invited to an informational session in August to further explain the requirements and answer questions they may have. Also, during the session, they will be provided an initial set of required signage. 

Responsibility for enforcing the ordinance is jointly between the KPCN and the Saba Public Entity Enforcement Team. 

If you have questions, please email publichealth@sabagov.nl.