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Smoking in Public Places


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why were regulations to Prohibit Tobacco Smoking in public places implemented in Barbados?

The main reason for implementing regulations to prohibit tobacco smoking in public places in Barbados is to protect non smokers from the harmful effects of second hand smoke. Second hand smoke contains substances which are toxic and can cause cancer and other negative effects on health.

How is public place defined in the context of the regulations to prohibit tobacco smoking in Barbados?

According to the regulations "public place" means:

  • A building, place, structure or facility that is owned, controlled, managed or occupied by the Crown or a statutory board in Barbados;
  • place, site, building, factory, plant, workplace or other structure that is fully or substantially enclosed;
  • library, museum, auditorium, historic or other site of archeological or national significance, to which the public or a member or section of the public has access or is permitted to have access, with or without restriction to users and whether or not
  • on the payment of money; or
  • by virtue of membership;"

How is "substantially enclosed" defined in the context of the regulations to prohibit tobacco smoking in Barbados?

According to the regulations´" substantially enclosed" means: "a place, site, building, factory, plant, workplace or other structure that:
  • is covered by a permanent or temporary roof or covering whether semi-porous or otherwise; and
  • has walls or other erections that prevent passage, and also has doors, windows or openings in the walls or other erections

Is the street considered to be a public place?

No. Under the regulations most streets would not be considered to be public places because streets are not enclosed. An exception may be made in situations where an event of national significance is being held in a street.

What are the penalties for breaching the regulations?

The penalties for breaching the regulations are $500.00 and/or 12 months imprisonment for the person who smokes in a public place; and $5000.00 and/or12 months imprisonment for the owner/manager/proprietor who allows smoking in a public place

Is the beach a public place?

No. Under the regulations beaches would not normally be considered public places because beaches are neither fully nor substantially enclosed. An exception would be when an event of national significance is taking place e.g. Family events under the sanction of National Cultural Foundation such as "Pan On De Sand" and "Cavalcades".

What is the responsibility of members of the public?

Members of the public should familiarize themselves with the regulations and make sure that they do not infringe the regulations i.e. they must ensure that they do not smoke tobacco products in a public place. Copies of the Regulations are available online at the Government InformationService's website at the following URL: http://www.gisbarbados.gov.bb/

What is the responsibility of business owners and managers?

Business owners and manager must ensure that "NO SMOKING PERMITTED" signs are conspicuously displayed in at least two locations of their premises as set out in the regulations. Business owners and manager are also to take reasonable steps to ensure that patrons do not smoke tobacco products in public places under their control as this is an offence under the regulations.

What can members of the public do if they see someone smoking tobacco in a public place?

Members of the public can inform the smoker of the regulations and ask them to stop smoking or to move from the public place while they are smoking. Members of the public can draw the offence to the attention of the person responsible for the property. In some cases this may be the owner, occupier or manager of the establishment.

How will the prohibition of tobacco smoking in public places regulations affect tourists?

Tourists like all other persons in the Barbados must comply with the regulations that prohibit smoking in public places. Many tourists come from jurisdictions where smoking in public places has been prohibited for many years. In such situations they may be already accustomed to following similar regulations in their home countries.

Is there help for smokers who want to quit smoking?

Smokers who want to quit smoking may discuss this with their doctor or health care provider so that they can receive counseling and support. This may include prescriptions for tobacco cessation assistance drugs such as nicotine replacement therapy.

If you are at home smoking, or invite a group of friends to your home and they smoke, can you be prosecuted?

No, the regulations do not apply to smoking in one's home. A possible exception would be in cases where persons are employed in the home, for example, to provide catering services or, if an invitation were extended to members of the general public to come to the home.

Are e-cigarettes covered by the legislation?

No. E-cigarettes are not covered by the legislation. E- Cigarettes are a new type of device where the user sucks on a tube which delivers substances that may contain nicotine along with other products such as propylene glycol, tar and flavours to enhance taste. Such devices are said to release water vapour with some of the vaporized products into the air rather than smoke. Although these products are not prohibited under these regulations, the World Health Organization cautions persons against using them, since they have not yet been fully evaluated to determine how safe they are, and whether there are any significant side effects or long term effects.

For an open air event, can the organizer make it a 'smoke free' occasion?

Yes. Once it is advertised as 'smoke free', by attending, members of the public accept the arrangements of the organizer.

Can I smoke in my car?

Although the regulations do not prohibit persons from smoking in their private vehicle, smokers should still be aware of the harm this may cause to passengers. Persons should also be aware that smoking in a Public Service Vehicle is prohibited under Transportation Act.

Can a business owner set aside a specially designated area for smoking in a bar or restaurant?

No. The regulations do not make provision for specially designated smoking areas. As long as the facility meets the definition of "public place" as above, smoking will not be permitted.

Where can I smoke?

If you are determined to smoke you should only smoke in those areas where side stream smoke is unlikely to affect other people. Remember that side stream smoke is harmful to everyone, including your loved ones. Special efforts should be made to avoid exposing children and those who are affected by chronic diseases. Persons may smoke on their private property once members of the general public are not permitted to have access whether by invitation, for payment or for employment. Persons may smoke in open air venues, but should only do so under such circumstances that other persons will be unlikely to be affected by side stream smoke.