The Tobacco Control Unit of the Ministry of Health and Medical services has booked 45 offenders from 15th – 19th June in the western division for breaching the tobacco control decree.
The enforcement officers mobilized in the division to monitor the illicit trade and use of tobacco products.
19 retailers were charged for failure to display a ‘no smoking’ sign within their retailing area, while 15 were charged for failure to place a clear and prominent notice inside their retail outlet notifying the public they do not sell tobacco products to any person under the age of 18-years old.
Furthermore, 3 retailers were charged for selling cigarette rolls and 9 people were caught smoking in prohibited public places.
The offenders were served with notices to pay fines ranging from $200.00 to $1000.00 for smoking in public places and the illicit trade of tobacco products respectively.
People who fail to pay the fines will end up serving time in prison.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has issued numerous reminders to the public about the tobacco decree, and any breach of that will result in prosecution.
As tobacco contributes to the high prevalence of NCD rates in the country, the Tobacco Control Unit has effectively introduced strategies to combat the burden of disease in the country.
These strategies include increasing taxes on tobacco products, creating public awareness on the deadly effects of smoking, and declaring tobacco-free zones.
Meanwhile, Fiji was presented with WHO’s 2015 global ‘World No Tobacco Day’ award for continuous work done in the prevention and control of cigarette smoking.