The Ministry of Health has used World No Tobacco Day to launch public consultation for new regulations governing the sale of cigarettes in Solomon Islands.

However, one of the big-ticket items proposed by the Ministry of Health has already been ruled out.

The Ministry decided to drop a controversial 200 metre exclusion zone for the sale of tobacco products near schools and restaurants. This followed an outcry from business leaders, stating that such a regulation is “unworkable and impractical.”

“If such a regulation is passed, it would seriously affect business, this is not just about smokers and non-smokers, this is about the ability to carry out ones business activity,” stated one shop owner.

“For instance, you may have individuals who smoke choosing to do their daily shopping in other places… simply because the location of the shop means they will not be breaking the law if they choose to smoke.”

But the Chairman of the Solomon Islands Tobacco Control Taskforce, Dr Cedric Alependava, says the bans on advertising and the sale of individual cigarettes are still on the table.

He says the rationale for smoking bans is quite simple, "smoking bans exist to protect people from the effects of second-hand smoke."

"Many studies have shown that the effects include an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, emphysema, and other diseases."