4 Sep 2009

Northern Marianas moves to curb smoking

2:02 pm on 4 September 2009

The medical director of public health in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas says the passing of the smoke free bill in the Senate ends three years of hard work.

The Senate, which passed the bill unanimously, bans smoking in all workplaces and public places.

But bars, private residences, retail tobacco stores, as well as hotels do not come under the legislation.

The CNMI's medical director, Dr Richard Bostrom, says the bill has been a real priority, because of the high levels of smoking in the Northern Marianas.

"The youth rate of smoking, according to our last census, is the third highest in the world and we have a real problem with diabetes and high blood pressure, and when you mix tobacco, high blood pressure and diabetes, the outcome is never good for the patient."

Dr Bostrom says support for the bill by the community has been incredible.

He says the legislation will go to the lower house next week which he says is expected to be passed.