STREET and market vendors are expected to do away with selling of single cigarettes when the Tobacco Control Regulations comes into full force.
The regulation was gazetted by Cabinet in January as part of Government’s commitment to improving the health of Solomon Islanders.
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.
Chairman of Tobacco Control Taskforce Committee, Dr Cedric Alependava said the delay to implement some parts of the regulations this year was because awareness in communities, schools and provinces are still continuing.
Mr Alependava said when awareness completes, then they will start to implement the regulation on people selling cigarettes.
He said one part of the regulation is for people to acquire a license first before selling packet cigarettes and not single cigarette.
However, he said it will be a huge challenge for police and health inspector to control action of vendors because they will still resort to black market to sell single cigarettes.
Meanwhile, Caretaker Health Minister Charles Sigoto confirmed that Solomon Islands has one of the highest rate of tobacco use amongst youths, in the world.
Mr Sigoto said four out of ten young people in Solomon Islands are smokers, adding this is a high rate compared to the global average of young people who smoke.
He claimed Government’s ambitious goal is to make Solomon Islands a tobacco-free country in eleven years.
By EDDIE OSIFELO