1 Oct 2010

Marshall survey shows shops ignore tobacco laws

2:27 pm on 1 October 2010

An undercover survey in the Marshall Islands has revealed the vast majority of shops ignore the law and sell tobacco to children.

The survey is done every year by officials from the Marshall Islands Epidemiological and Prevention Initiatives Corporation and involves more than 130 businesses in the two urban centers.

Our correspondent Giff Johnson says a recent sting operation in Majuro showed that 85 percent of 100 shops surveyed sold tobacco illegally to teenagers under 18, and the figure was 75 percent on Ebeye.

"There's no enforcement of laws. And I believe that the last prosecution of a store, possibly one of the first and the last prosecutions was about six or seven years ago. So there just isn't any enforcement and also the penalties are pretty modest."

Giff Johnson says officials behind the survey are working with the government to address the issue.