By Moses Alinda
Arua: The police of Arua Central Business Division have 38 people in custody for being in possession of banned tobacco products and smoking in public places.
Their arrest follows an intelligence-led operation that was conducted jointly with officials from the Ministry of Health, the Department of Tobacco Control Division, and health inspectors in Arua City.
The West Nile Region Police Spokesperson, Josephine Angucia, narrates that the suspects were arrested on Friday evening; out of the 38 arrested, 3 were women and 35 were men.
She told this publication that the operation targeted mainly Shisha smoking, and the arrested people included those found smoking Shisha as well as the proprietors of Shisha businesses.
‘’They were arrested for being in possession of banned tobacco products like Shisa and smoking in public places contrary to the Tobacco Control Act 2015, Part 3, sections 11, 12, and 16,’’ Angucia added.
According to Angucia, the intelligence-led operation covered the cells of Swalia, Baruku, and Junior Quarters all in Arua City Central Division, where the vice is common, adding that it will be extended to other areas of Greater Arua and West Nile Region generally.
The police officer further disclosed that items recovered include 20 Shisa pots, 18 Shisha pipes, 11 tins of Shisha ingredients, and 5 sachets of Jirack molasses, which are all exhibited.
‘’The suspects are being detained at Arua Central Business Division as screening and investigations continue. Meanwhile, the case file is being compiled and will be forwarded to the resident state attorney for perusal and legal advice,’’ she said.
About the law
The Tobacco Control Act 2015 contains the laws, guidelines, and punishments for contravention.
Individual punishment for a person who contravenes the law is a fine not less than 480,000 shillings, or imprisonment for not less than one year, or both.
For a corporation that contravenes the guidelines, a fine not less than 20 million shillings, the withdrawal of an operating license, and other forms of punishments as specified in the law
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