The Government has shown its continued commitment to improving the health of Solomon Islanders with the gazetting of the Tobacco Control Regulations.
Under the Regulations, all tobacco packaging must display health warnings on 70% of the front of and 30% of the back of tobacco packaging by 1 January 2015. Other aspects of the Regulations will be phased in over 2014.
“These picture images with written warnings in both Solomon Islands Pidgin and English will send powerful messages to warn the public about the deadly effects of tobacco,” says Minister Sigoto. “Research from around the world had shown that the larger the picture, the greater the impact. This decreases smoking rates overall.”
The large warning messages put Solomon Islands among the leaders of the Pacific in protecting the public from the deadly effects of tobacco. Solomon Islands has a high rate of smoking, particularly among younger people. Evidence in Solomon Islands indicates that many of the public do not realise that smoking is a leading cause of preventable non-communicable diseases.
“It is important that consumers clearly see the warnings before they buy the packet,” says Minister Sigoto. “This is why retailers will be required to display the front of cigarette packets when they offer these products for sale.”
The Regulations are designed with the health of Solomon Islanders foremost in mind. During the public consultation phase the majority of submissions strongly supported large graphic health warnings to be displayed on tobacco packages.
“The final Tobacco Control Regulations are essential for public health and a great step forward in ensuring people are adequately warned about a poisonous product that causes diseases and kills our people,” says Dr Alependava, Chair of the Tobacco Control Taskforce Committee. “We make no apology for protecting the right of Solomon Islanders to know what they are putting into their bodies.”
The Regulations also:
• require testing for toxic chemicals in tobacco products from an independent laboratory
• mandate the annual rotation of smoking messages on tobacco packets
• control what can be printed on cigarettes
• provide further requirements for persons in charge of non-smoking areas, and
• Require reports to be made to the Minister and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
The Gazetted Tobacco Control Regulations are available at the public gazettal office.
Press Release: GCU