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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 14:42 GMT
Public smoking 'banned' in Uganda
Kampala street
Will restaurants and bars become no smoking areas
Uganda has imposed a smoking ban in all public places, the environment minister has said.

Kahinda Otafiire said smoking in restaurants, educational institutions and bars would now be an offence.

Offenders will be fined between $10 and $50 if arrested by policemen who have been instructed to enforce the law.

But the BBC correspondent in Kampala says the smoking ban has not been gazetted so it remains unclear quite how rigourously it will be enforced.

Dangerous product

Mr Otafiire said the cabinet and parliament are backing the ban.

A spokesman of Environmental action network, (Tean) which works for tobacco control, Philip Karugaba said the minister was simply implementing a court decision passed in December 2002.

Mr Karugaba said the ministry was instructed to prohibit smoking in public places after a court ruled that the habit was dangerous to the health of Ugandans.

"We are absolutely delighted, just as we have rules on how we should drive we must have rules about smoking because its a dangerous product," he told the BBC.

It is unclear whether Ugandans will abide by the minister's announcement, but it is bound to raise concern among tobacco farmers in North-West Uganda.

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