Minister highlights need for comprehensive suki regulation

May 29, 2024 6:16 am

[File Photo]

While the Tobacco Control Act addresses various aspects of tobacco regulation, it lacks specific provisions for Suki, creating loopholes that hinder public health efforts says Trade Minister Manoa Kamikamica.

He highlighted this during the launch of the report by Consumer Council titled Smoke Signal: Understanding the Drivers of Suki Consumption in Fiji.

Kamikamica noted that 83 percent of the report respondents find suki accessible and 89 percent consider it affordable.

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Trade Minister Manoa Kamikamica

He says this widespread availability supports livelihoods but perpetuates tobacco addiction and health risks, particularly in lower-income areas.

Kamikamica also says that the report reveals that 71 percent of the respondents switched from cigarettes to suki due to its lower cost, indicating the significant economic influence on tobacco use.

He says despite the economic benefits, this switch does not mitigate health risks.

“The government recognizes the economic importance of the tobacco trade, including Suki, in providing livelihoods. However, the long-term health costs associated with tobacco consumption, including healthcare expenses and lost productivity, are significant. Policy decisions must prioritize public health while balancing economic interests.”

Kamikamica says the government is committed to a comprehensive approach, including strengthening the legal framework to regulate suki similarly to other tobacco products.

He says amending the Tobacco Control Act to explicitly include suki, mandating standardized packaging, and implementing health warnings are critical steps.