Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Drug Control, Youth
Release Date:
Friday, 31 May 2024 - 3:51pm

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is joining the fight to “Protect Young People from the Tobacco Industry, through the observance of World Tobacco Day today, May 31.

The day’s observance seeks to provide a platform for Governments around the world to help to shield young people from the predatory marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ronald Georges said, “E-cigarettes are heavily marketed including to youths worldwide. Young people should be aware that e-cigarettes, vapes, and electronic nicotine delivery systems pose health risks as they contain addictive nicotine and an array of toxic chemicals similar to those found in cigarettes.” 

Dr. Georges added that tobacco products significantly increases the risk to an array of cancers, chronic lung diseases, vascular disease, diabetes and poor oral health. He said long-term use of e-cigarettes and other smoking alternatives are also linked to brain and heart disorders. 

“The chemicals contained in these products are designed to cause addiction in younger users as well as are linked to numerous health problems,” Dr. Georges said.

Residents are also reminded that according to Tobacco Products Control Act 2006, smoking in public places is unlawful.

The regulations stipulate that a fine of 50 dollars will be charged to any person smoking tobacco or holding lighted tobacco within thirty feet from the entrance, exit or open windows of offices and office buildings, including public areas, elevators, stairways, and restrooms within the buildings.

This stipulation also applies to health institutions, educational institutions, sports facilities, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, facilities rented out for events, premises in which children are cared for, beaches accessible to the public and any other facilities.

Dr. Georges is encouraging the community to obey the law and refrain from smoking in public places and is also advising the youth to not be drawn into trends or fads of e-cigarettes and vapes.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.


Natasha Lettsome-Humphrey

Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Telephone: 468-2286