19 Jan 2011

American Samoa public smoking ban to come into force

4:04 pm on 19 January 2011

American Samoa's new legislation to ban smoking in public places comes into effect tomorrow.

Governor Togiola Tulafono signed the Smoke Free Environment Act in October 2010 and a provision of the measure called for a 90-day grace period before the law takes effect.

The new law states that smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas of public places as well as in enclosed areas within places of employment.

Public places include not only government areas but also private commercial areas used by the public, such as buses, taxis, retail stores, restaurants and hotels.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says there are various penalties if people don't comply.

"The fine in accordance with local law for a person who violates this ban its $50 per violation. For the business owner who violates this law, the first violation is $100 and $200 for each violation."

Fili Sagapolutele says business licenses or any permits for the owner operator also risk being suspended or revoked.

The Health Department has been busy conducting awareness and outreach programmes to educate people about the smoking ban.