Fiji has received the global award for tobacco control in recognition for the effective strategies introduced to combat the illicit trade and use of tobacco products.
These strategies include the declaration of tobacco-free villages and community halls, the sale of cigarette rolls and the ban on cigarette smoking in prohibited smoking places.
To supplement the program, the government has also introduced high taxes on tobacco products to deter people from purchasing and consuming them.
The tireless efforts of the Tobacco Control Unit of the Ministry of Health has seen a decrease in social smokers by 7.1% in males and 5.9 % in females.
The Minister for Health and Medical Services Mr Jone Usamate commended the staff of the ministry for their efforts in bringing about behavioural change in the people.
“I am proud of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services’ tobacco control efforts, but we must keep in mind that it is not only the Government that has a role in combatting illicit trade, it is you and me, and our communities that have a role. Tobacco control requires a multi-sectoral approach with community involvement and support”, said Mr Usamate.
Mr Usamate received the award from the regional representative of WHO Dr Liu Yungao at Holiday Inn last week.
Meanwhile, Mr Usamate signed a MOU with Land Transport Authority to reduce hazardous smoke emissions from vehicles.