In 2005, the Guam Legislature passed Public Law 28-80, also known as the "Natasha Protection Act," which restricted smoking in some workplaces and public places. Unfortunately, the law is very weak and still allows smoking in bars, and after 10 p.m. in attached bar areas of restaurants and private clubs. In 2007, all Executive Branch government facilities went smokefree. In 2009, a bill was signed into law creating a smokefree zone within 20 feet of public buildings.
Guam advocates and health groups are working to build support for strengthening Guam's law to bring truly smokefree protections for the island's workers, residents, and visitors. A key barrier to strengthening the law is a massive build-up of U.S. troops at the military base there. Even though indoor areas of bases are smokefree, troops light up in Guams bars. This is cited by opponents and some lawmakers as a reason why smokefree bars wouldnt work. Of course, bars are smokefree in many military base towns across the country, but still it creates a perceived barrier to policy change.
Guam 2013-2014 Legislative Session: 1/14/2013 - 12/31/2014 (Est.)
Bill Would Raise Tax on Smokeless Tobacco Products to the Same Level
as the Tax on Cigarettes
says new hires must be non-smokers
& Guam DOE Join to Promote Tobacco Free Schools
staffers at tobacco control training
by Mindy Aguon Guam - Individuals in the government who enforce tobacco-free
policies underwent special training today. The policies include the
Natasha Act ...
Turnout for Bill Banning Smoking in Car When Children Are Present
Bill Would Ban Smoking in Vehicles When Child is Inside
King, B.A.; Dube, S.R.; Ko, J.Y., "Secondhand smoke concentrations in hospitality venues in the Pacific Basin: findings from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam," Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 12(11): 2881-2885, 2011.
This air quality study conducted in American Samoa, Guam, Commonwealth
of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) bars and restaurants found that
particulate matter (PM2) concentrations where smoking is permitted [arithmetic
mean (AM)=299.98 µg/m3; geometric mean (GM)=200.39 µg/m3]
was significantly higher (p<0.001) than smoke-free venues [AM=8.33
µg/m3; GM=6.14 µg/m3]. In venues where smoking was permitted
during certain hours, the average level of of PM2 outside of these hours
was significantly higher [AM=42.10 µg/m3; GM=41.87 µg/m3]
than smokefree venues. The researchers urged for smokefree venues.
Guam Senators Raise Tobacco Taxes Too?
But the real test for lawmakers will come with their stance on a bill aimed at increasing tobacco taxes as a deterrent against smoking and chewing. Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz' Bill 150 seeks to raise taxes on cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.
The proposal would raise taxes on cigarettes to $1.50 per pack of 20; on cigars to 30 cents, 33 cents or 37 cents, depending on size; and to $21 per pound of chewing tobacco. ...
to extend smoking ban
Senators are ready to vote on a bill that would require smokers to move more than 20 feet from the entrance of an enclosed public place before they can enjoy a cigarette.
There was little debate or objection to Bill 101 during session yesterday.
The Legislature will vote on the bill the next time it is discussed.
Begins Without Bill 185
Guam Memorial Hospital A National Leader In Going Smoke-Free
Push To Ban Smoking
GUAM - As the debate continues to intensify on the issue of tobacco use on Guam, recent news that the U.S. military is studying ways to eliminate tobacco use among all military services presents strong evidence to back the Guam Medical Society's push to significantly raise the cost of cigarettes.
A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has revealed that the U.S. military has nearly twice the smoking rate of the civilian population.
Similarly, a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control revealed that one in three adults on Guam is a smoker and Guams smoking prevalence is 57% higher than the rest of the nation.
A July 1, 2009 Stars And Stripes article reports IOM's call for an all-out ban on tobacco for all branches of the military within a deadline of 20 years.
The Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) requested the study be conducted in order to address the high number of smokers among servicemembers. ...
tax hike proposed: Guam voters could ratify proposal at a referendum
A bill introduced yesterday would allow Guam voters to decide if a tax on cigarettes should increase to $1.50 a pack.
Bill 150, introduced by Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz, would increase the local tax on cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products. The current $1 tax on a pack of cigarettes would increase by 50 cents. The current 25-cent tax on a tin of chewing tobacco would increase sixfold to $1.50 a tin.
If the bill becomes law, the new tax would take effect 30 days after it's ratified by Guam voters in a referendum during the 2010 General Election, according to the legislation.
About one out of every three people on Guam smoke cigarettes, giving the island the highest smoking rate in the nation ...
Tobacco Control 2006;15:422-423
The passage of Guams smoke-free restaurants law (see Tobacco Control2006;15:789) has served as a tipping point for tobacco-free policies in both the public and private sectors. Since the passage of the law, the Guam Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the University of Guam and the Guam Community College all enacted 100% tobacco-free policies, banning all smoking and chewing of tobacco products, both indoors and outside, on their premises. In the private sector, two health insurance companies, Netcare and TakeCare, also adopted similar policies. The latest to join the trend is Guam Memorial Hospital, which is going 100% tobacco-free in October.
Health advocates have noted how the law seemed to push these organisations
over a certain threshold, from reluctance to acceptance of a tobacco-free
corporate norm. In addition, Guams restaurants, now 100% smoke-free
indoors, are enjoying a robust traffic in customers. Not a single one
Smoking ban in restaurants now in full effect
A SMOKING ban in all dining establishments on Guam is now fully in effect after the Supreme Court of Guam dismissed the appeal of former attorney general Douglas Moylan and affirmed the constitutionality of the Natasha Protection Act. Affirming an earlier decision of the trial court, the Supreme Court said that the Natasha Protection Act is enforceable and not unconstitutional as earlier argued by the former AG. With this development, Atty. Mike Phillips said smoking is now prohibited 24 hours in all restaurants. Bars that exclusively serve alcohol are not covered by the smoking ban while the regulation does apply to bars that double as restaurants. Smoking would be allowed in such establishments between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., provided they employ an appropriate smoke ventilation device. ...
Lawmakers await GHRA's stance
Members of the Guam Hotel Restaurant Association have not yet taken a position on the newly enacted Natasha Protection Act. And until they do, lawmakers don't plan to change what some have called a flawed law, the legislative speaker said yesterday.
At the GHRA's General Membership meeting yesterday, Speaker Mark Forbes told the leaders of the island's hospitality industry that the current ban on smoking in hotel rooms that the act created was an "unintended consequence" of the legislation. ...
Smoking ban in full effect
Guam's invitation for tourists will likely include a footnote that smoking in hotel rooms might get them in trouble with local law.
The island's attorney general said the Superior Court of Guam's June 9 decision not to stop the enforcement of portions of the new and broader no-smoking law has the effect of including bars and hotels in the ban.
There's no question restaurants are now covered by the smoking ban, Attorney General Douglas Moylan said. He added he intends to take the new law's unresolved portions -- affecting bars and hotels -- to the Guam Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, he instructed the Department of Public Health and Social Services in a letter after the court's move on Friday that, "until this question is further answered by the courts, that (establishments do) not permit any smoking in any public facilities on Guam, regardless of the installed filtration device, or face prosecution." ...
Smoking ban takes effect
The restaurant smoking ban is now in effect, after the case against it was dismissed yesterday.
Superior Court of Guam Judge Steven Unpingco yesterday dismissed the civil case filed by the attorney general's office over the enforceability of the Natasha Protection Act.
The attorney general's office plans to appeal the dismissal to the Supreme Court of Guam.
The law's namesake, Natasha Perez, also died yesterday. The Natasha Protection Act was named after the teenage cancer patient. ...
who inspired anti-smoking law passes away
When you head to a local restaurant this weekend, remember there's no smoking. And in addition to considering that, remember Natasha Perez, the young girl for whom the Natasha Protection Act was named. Superior Court Judge Steven Unpingco issued an order dismissing Attorney General Douglas Moylan's lawsuit that questioned the constitutionality of the Act.
The judge's decision comes hours after the AG and Attorney Mike Phillips presented arguments on the constitutionality of the Act. Moylan argued the Act could not be enforced and requested the judge clarify the Legislature's intent. "This law will be enforced if the court chooses not to rule on it," the AG maintained. "As we pointed out in court we're going to be back with a lot of different people coming in with their attorneys litigating the question that we're trying to have amicably and dispassionately resolved today."
Attorney Phillips argued the Act should be implemented immediately.
Smoking banned in Guam restaurants
Gov. Felix Camacho this morning signed a law that prohibits smoking in Guam restaurants, except for restaurants that turn into bars late at night.
It will take time to adjust, but certainly this is a monumental thing, Camacho said during a brief signing ceremony in his office at Adelup. This is a real improvement in the quality of life.
The ban takes effect 150 days from today, which is May 6, 2006.
This is a health issue, said Sen. Lou Leon Guerrero, who wrote the law and who attended the ceremony. Leon Guerrero thanked the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association for supporting the change since she had expected opposition from the group.
The new law is named the Natasha Protection Act after Natasha Perez, a high school student with respiratory problems who has a hard time breathing in a room with smoke. ...
Smoking restriction bill passed
Lawmakers yesterday passed the smoking regulation bill Natasha Protection Act of 2005, which places heavier restrictions on smoking in public places.
The final vote was 12-2, with Sens. Eddie Calvo and Jesse Lujan passing on the vote three times, which becomes a vote of no.
Bill 16, now awaiting approval from Gov. Felix Camacho, puts restrictions on smoking in restaurants, and requires adequate ventilation or filtration devices in public places or businesses where it is allowed.
The bill would not impact bars, private residences, hotel and motel rooms to guests, retail tobacco stores or a private enclosed office work place occupied by smokers. ...