The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is reminding the public to adhere to the Tobacco Decree as any breach of this would result in people being prosecuted.
The Tobacco decree gives powers to enforcement officers to monitor retailers and public places such as bus stands and internet cafes which are no smoking zones.
The Tobacco Enforcement Unit has booked 45 offenders from 15th to 19th of June in the Western division for breaching the tobacco control decree. In terms of businesses, 19 retailers have been charged for failure to display a ‘no smoking sign’ within their retailing area while 15 retailers been charged for failure to place a clear and prominent notice inside retail outlet notifying the public they do not sell tobacco product to any person under the age of 18-years old.
Three retailers have been charged for selling cigarette rolls and nine people were caught smoking in prohibited public places.
The offenders were served with notices to pay the fines which range from $200.00 to $1000.00 for smoking in public places and illicit trade of tobacco products respectively.
People who fail to pay the fines would end up serving time in prison.
MOH said enforcement officers are mobilized in all divisions to monitor the illicit trade and use of tobacco products.
As tobacco is one of the contributors of the high prevalence rate of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) in the country, the Tobacco Control Unit has effectively introduced strategies to combat the burden of diseases in the country.
These strategies include the increasing of taxes for tobacco products, creating public awareness on the deadly effects of smoking and declaring no tobacco zones.
Fiji has recently received the Global Award 2015 from the World Health Organization (WHO) for the continuous work done in the prevention and control of Tobacco use in the country.