Concerns over illegal sales of cigarettes

May 24, 2024 7:36 am

The Health Ministry highlights a disturbing trend of illegal sales of cigarette rolls in the country, with 42 individuals charged by the Tobacco Control and Enforcement Unit in the past three months.

Under the Tobacco Act of 2010, the fine for selling single rolls carries a fixed penalty of $1,000.

This unit conducts quarterly enforcement operations in collaboration with the Fiji Police Force, Municipal Councils, and Environmental Health Officers.

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Health Minister Dr Atonio Lalabalavu states that the officers are performing routine enforcement, monitoring, and surveillance within their respective urban centers.

“We currently have the law in place. It is just that, again, we have the enforcement, the monitoring. I believe, from the health perspective, it is the monitoring part.”

Dr Lalabalavu also raises concerns about repeat offenders.

“With infringement notices, our Tobacco Control Enforcement Unit officers, they are trained with the Department of DPP, the Office of the DPP. They do, from time to time, take part in court proceedings that deals with infringements.”

The government has also revealed that many individuals across the country have been fined for smoking in public places or in no-smoking areas.