Two studies were carried out in 2021 by the non-government association VISA, the University of Mauritius and the World Health Organization. The first study looked at whether nightclubs in Mauritius were in conformity with the ban on smoking in public places as required by the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations of 2008. It was conducted using structured observation, desk research, and online search. The study provided unequivocal evidence that nightclubs in Mauritius arein breach of several of the provisions of the tobacco control law. Cigarette smoking remains high, being observed in 87.5% of nightclubs visited. Ashtrays were seen in conspicuous places in many nightclubs whereby sale of cigarettes was also noted. Tobacco smoke was present in 87.5% of the nightclubs while prescribed “No Smoking” signs were seen in only 56.2% of the nightclubs. The use of electronic cigarettes, which is illegal in Mauritius, was observed in 31.2% of the nightclubs. As in 2013, when a similar study was carried out by VISA, compliance by nightclubs with the smoke-free provisions of the law is low. Authorities should aim at a vigorous enforcement of the ban in view of creating 100% smoke-free environments in all public places, including the nightclubs.
The second study looked at the operation of waterpipe smoking outlets and the illegal sale of non-conventional tobacco products such as waterpipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes including shisha pens and heated tobacco products. In Mauritius, the importation and sale of tobacco products for use in waterpipes is banned, although waterpipe use is allowed in certain categories of hotels. The study notes that, despite the ban, waterpipe tobacco and charcoal are available for sale to the public in shops in certain localities. While it remains mostly an underground activity, some shops are selling them openly, in complete violation of the law. Electronic cigarettes and shisha pens are available for sale to the public in some shops while their commercialisation is considered an illegal activity by law. Authorities should aim at providing universal protection against the use of waterpipe tobacco and exposure to waterpipe smoke by revoking the amendments made to the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations of 2008, allowing the use of waterpipes in certain categories of hotels. Amendments should be made to the existing regulations to ban the importation, sale and use of both waterpipes and waterpipe tobacco. Finally, authorities should ensure strict enforcement of the ban on the importation and sale of new technology and tobacco imitation products.
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