7 Oct 2015

Smoking loophole in Cook Islands to be closed

7:14 am on 7 October 2015

The Cook Islands Ministry of Health says the confusion around a loophole that allows smoking in bars and restaurants will be cleared up

Under the 2007 Tobacco Control Act, smoking in any public place is illegal but specific smoking areas were permitted for a year after the Act came into force.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson, Valentino Wichman, says many places still have areas for smokers and it is time to tighten up the law.

"The plan is to draft a provision that says there'll be no smoking in interior public places but that there'll be designated areas. Where those designated areas will be needs further discussion though, a lot of the bars in the Cook Islands are sort of half open half closed so it's about trying to determine an area [that's] most appropriate."

Valentino Wichman says enforcing the law is difficult and the planned amendments will give officials more direction including training officers and establishing a monitoring system.