The Public Entity of Saba has implemented the groundbreaking ordinance regulating the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products as of today, September 1, 2023. This legislation is part of a continued commitment to public health and sets a precedent in the Caribbean region.
The ordinance focuses on three main areas: Age Restriction for Tobacco Products, where the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products, including vapes and e-cigarettes, to persons under the age of 18 will be prohibited; ID Verification Requirement, mandating retailers to request identification from anyone who appears to be under the age of 25; and a Ban on E-Flavored Liquids, prohibiting the sale of e-flavored liquids and related products to all persons.
As part of the preparation for implementation, communication has been extended to parents, teachers, and the community. Retailers have been thoroughly informed and provided with signage, and an informational session was held on Thursday, August 10th, to ensure a clear understanding of the ordinance.
Commissioner Eviton Heyliger has expressed strong support for this new legislation, stating, “This is a big step in our continued progress of improving our health policies. PES is excited to be one of the first islands to pass such legislation.” The local government acknowledges the long-term health risks associated with tobacco and related products, and this ordinance represents the first step in our commitment to address the risks of these products.
To provide insight into the receptivity of local businesses and the measures planned for effective implementation. Local Retailers have been receptive and supportive of the new requirements, with several noting that the ordinance supports their current practices. Regarding enforcement of the ordinance, Public Safety and Enforcement Officer Thompson commented that “during routine controls and unannounced inspections we will work together with retailers to ensure the ordinance is being followed”. There will be ongoing collaboration with Public Health to ensure that this ordinance is not just a regulation but a community-backed initiative towards better health.