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September 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Fiji’s Ministry of Health will be displaying a Pictorial Health Warning on all cigarette packs sold in Fiji by July 1, 2013.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Eloni Tora told FijiLive this is part of their initiative to give out warnings to the public on the effects of smoking.

Dr Tora commented after the recent increase of cigarette prices by 30 cents.

He said researches have shown that raising the price of tobacco and tobacco products through tax increases is the most effective way to reduce smoking.

“Higher cigarette prices reduce the number of smokers and induce those who continue to smoke to consume fewer cigarettes per day.”

According to him, it is estimated that for each 10 per cent increase in retail prices, consumption is reduced by about 4 per cent in high- income countries and by about 8 per cent in low- and middle- income countries.
“The increase has created concerns by members of the public and this shows that an increase in cigarette prices has an impact on consumers’ purchasing power which could lead to a reduction in smoking.”

British American Tobacco (BAT) Corporate and Regulatory Affairs manager Rajeshwar Singh told FijiLive this is part of the Section 9 of the Tobacco Control Decree 2010 where publication to print warning on every pack is a required.

“The pictorial warnings will occupy 30 percent space on the front and 90 percent on the back,” said Singh.

For the current textual warning, he said it has 25 percent front and 25 percent back.

“It’s not all about how the company will be affected but the implication of smoking.”

However, at the end of the day, Singh said it is the personal choice of the individual.

The Ministry of Health is now working with its legal authorities for a Tobacco Control Regulation 2012 which will be expected in October, 2012.

By Ropate Valemei


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