DEMTOCO on ‘compliance drive’ for new tobacco laws – new MD

first_imgAfter months of back and forth within the Public Health Ministry, the Demerara Tobacco Company (DEMTOCO) is now on a ‘compliance drive’ in preparation for the new Tobacco laws, according to its newly appointed Managing Director, Christopher Brown.The Tobacco Control Act became law back in August 2017 after passage in the National Assembly and subsequent assent by President David Granger. The Public Health Minister was tasked with drafting the regulations that would guide the industry in implementing certain aspects of the new legislation such as ‘no smoking’ signs and packaging and labelling of tobacco products.But for months, DEMTOCO, a major player in the local tobacco industry, had been awaiting these regulations which the company needs in order to be compliant with the new legislation.However, Brown recently told reporters on the sidelines of a reception held toDEMTOCO’s Managing Director, Christopher Brownfamiliarise him with local stakeholders that the company has since been able to iron out these issues with the Public Health Ministry.“We have received those regulations and we have prepared all the requisite labelling and packaging arrangements flowing from those regulations that need now to be placed on our packs. That aspects of the regulations don’t come into effect until February 2019 so we are now in the process of producing, transforming and getting our packs compliant with those new regulatory requirements,” he stated.According the new Managing Director, while the company intends to wait until the 2019 enforcement date to release the new packaged products into the market, it has been, in the meantime, sensitising stakeholders on the new laws.“We have already sensitise our customers, retailers and wholesalers on how the new packs are going to look in terms of the graphic pictorial health images that are going to be on them and other matters that will change,” he noted.Ask whether stakeholders have a general understanding and acceptance of the changes that the new tobacco laws enforces, the DEMTOCO boss disclosed that there are still some uncertainties among citizens.“I think they have some concerns and they have questions, and that is why we’ve had discussions with them to educate them and advise them, and to hear their questions. And in cases where we ourselves cannot answer, we have our legal counsels, both locally and globally, to help us walk through those issues,” he added.Initially, DEMTOCO had some concerns with aspects of the draft legislation but since it has become law, the company is ready to be compliant.“We have put [our concerns] on the table already as it relates to the Government and we are not about to be in any confrontation on any issues. So we have accepted the legislation as is and as was passed, and we are working with all our stakeholders now to be compliant,” Brown posited.Moreover, the newly appointed Managing Director further outlined that the company is yet to see any impact on the volume of its sales because of the new tobacco laws.As part of the phased implementation of the new legislation, the Public Health Ministry initiated an aggressive education and awareness campaign to sensitise the public of the new laws.last_img

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