The Tobacco Enforcement Unit of Health Ministry has this year so far booked 74 people in the Central Division for breaching the Tobacco Control Decree. Fifty percent of these bookings were for selling single cigarette rolls.
The Ministry is concerned that people are not taking heed of warnings and advices provided by the Ministry after it was noticed that compared to same period last year; there has been a marginal increase in bookings this year. The total booking for whole of last year stood at 159.
Health Minister Doctor Neil Sharma says with barely three months gone this year 74 bookings were recorded which is a worrying sign. “Worrying in the sense that people continue to breach laws and are ignoring advices. Awareness programs are conducted throughout the year to inform the public of the dangers of drugs, tobacco and other illicit substances. Research indicates three commonly used drugs by people are yaqona, alcohol and tobacco”, he said.
It is also a worrying sign that about 10 school students were booked for smoking in amusement centers and public places. This largely included children smoking in billiard shops. A further 7 individuals were booked for smoking in public transports.
Those who were selling single rolls were fined $1000 while those caught smoking in public places were fined $200. People or businesses booked are told to pay the fine within 21 days or the matter will be taken to court.
The Ministry also wishes to inform people and business owners that under the Tobacco Control Decree 2010 it is mandatory to place prominent notice notifying the prohibition of tobacco product sales to persons under the age of 18 years. 7 people were booked for not displaying this notice.
Officers from the Tobacco Enforcement unit will be carrying out operations in Western and Northern Division as well to clamp down on those who are breaching the law.
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