17 Nov 2003

French Polynesia to test tobacco

4:20 pm on 17 November 2003

The French Polynesian health minister has ordered a laboratory test in France of the most common tobacco brand as plans are being considered to curb smoking.

Armelle Merceron says the importer of Bison acknowledges that it is the tobacco with the highest level of nicotine on the market.

She has declined to say what action, if any, she is planning to take in view of the importer's admission or the information that the laboratories are expected to give by the end of the month.

Mrs Merceron says she is considering offering one or two free consultations with specialists to help smokers quit.

She says it is also possible that the government could fund nicotine patches for those wishing to stop smoking.