A Couva footballer who decided to go clubbing for his birthday was ordered to pay $800 for smoking cigarettes in an enclosed space.
Akeel Asson, 23, who plays with the Central Division Task Force, pleaded guilty to smoking a cigarette at Club Deja Vous along the Southern Main Road in Couva on Saturday.
He appeared in the Couva Magistrates’ Court before Senior Magistrate Christine Charles and was told that if he failed to pay the fine on or before May 14, he would be sentenced to 14 days in prison with hard labour.
The prosecutor, Sgt Lincoln Bonnet presented the police’s case that around 2.25 am on Saturday, PC David Bharath of the Couva Police Station was on duty at the club when he noticed Asson smoking. Bharath warned Asson that he was committing an offence and the cigarette was discarded. But 10 minutes later, Asson took out another cigarette and began to smoke. David arrested him and charged him under the Tobacco Control Act.
Asson, who did not have legal counsel, admitted to the police’s version of events. When Charles questioned his reason for breaking the law, he said that it was his birthday and he was celebrating with friends.
“I know the police spoke to me the first time, but I did light the cigarette,” Asson said.
After asking him if he knew why the law existed, Charles said that it was to protect people’s health.
“If you want to smoke, you can do that, but do not subject others to your cigarette smoking,” Charles said.
In passing sentence, the court took into account Asson’s guilty plea and the fact that he had no criminal conviction. Charles said that people need to start being considerate to others.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), second-hand smoke can cause severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The CDC lists coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer as some of the health conditions in adults that are caused by second-hand smoke.