Caption: (From left ) Nadi Town Special administrator Robin Ali,WHO Representative South Pacific and Director of Pacific Technical Support Dr.Liu Yunguo,Honorable Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma,His Excellency the President of the Fiji Islands Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and Head of the Convention Secretariat,WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Dr Haik Nikogosian. Photo: SALOTE QALUBAU
Nadi Town has from today been declared a smoke free town thanks to the tireless efforts in trying to control smoking in the town area.
The town was declared smoke free by His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and Head of the Convention secretariat of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Dr Haik Nikogosian.
Also attended by the Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma, today’s declaration ceremony is part of efforts to promote healthy living and controlling tobacco smoking in public areas.
“The declaration made today in a small town in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is something for all of you to be proud off,” said Dr Nikogosian.
“Your efforts in promoting healthy living and creating more aware through the support of public health is commendable and it will have great repercussions in the future should Fiji want to be declared smoke free, and we may see a smoke free pacific so you small action will have an effect internationally.”
The declaration now means Nadi is the first town and the second urban centre in the country to declare portions of public places smoke free. Suva was the first centre after being declared earlier this month.
Minister for Health Dr Sharma said other centres were now looking at joining the fight against smoking and working towards banning cigarette smoking in their towns as well.
“I have been speaking to senior executives of Savusavu, Labasa, Nausori and Nasinu and they have also welcomed the initiative and want to be part of it so the responses have been very promising,” Dr Sharma said.
The declaration is also in line with recent initiatives by the Bainimarama government in creating more awareness on the harmful effects of smoking.
Some initiatives include;
– the banning of selling lose cigarette rolls,
– banning of selling of cigarettes to minors,
– increasing fines and penalties for offences related with cigarettes trade,
– banning of smoking in all public transport including buses, taxi, hire vehicles and mini vans
– modernizing laws and legislations