Brunei bans cigarette advertisements, smoking in selected public places

Brunei began implementing new rules Wednesday to discourage smoking by banning cigarette advertisements and restricting smoking in public places.

The Tobacco Order - which is expected to be fully enforced in six months or later - aims to curb "the negative impact and danger of tobacco ... to the public's health, economy and environment," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The law forbids advertisements related to smoking and states that tobacco importers and retailers must obtain government licenses. They must not sell tobacco products to youths under 18 years old.

It also bars smoking in some public places and vehicles, with offenders facing a fine of up to 1,000 Brunei dollars (US$670; EUR 490).

Local media have reported the Tobacco Order disallows smoking in government buildings, schools and parts of business outlets.

The Health Ministry statement voiced concerns that more children and teenagers in this oil-rich sultanate on Borneo island are starting to smoke at an increasingly young age. It did not provide statistics, but stressed that the "use of tobacco in any form ... causes addiction and jeopardizes health."

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Author`s name Angela Antonova