Health fears over third tobacco firm setting up in Solomon Islands

8:18 am on 6 June 2017

Health authorities in Solomon Islands are concerned a third cigarette manufacturer may set up shop in the country.

Solomon Islands has some of the highest rates of smoking in the world especially among teenagers.

It is estimated 40 percent of 13 to 15 year olds smoke.

There are two cigarette manufacturers in the country, Solomon Tobacco Ltd and Solomon Sun Cigarette Company.

But according to the Solomon Star newspaper health authorities are worried a third tobacco firm is eyeing the market.

The Ministry of Health's focal point for tobacco control, Geoff Kenilorea, told the paper he had heard from customs a new foreign tobacco firm had begun offloading building materials at the Port of Honiara.

Dr Kenilorea said there were no legal restrictions on the number of tobacco companies allowed to operate in Solomon Islands but he said in his view there were already two too many.

The Ministry of Health has been working to reduce smoking rates in the country including promoting new anti-smoking legislation which bans the sale of single cigarettes and smoking in some public spaces.

However enforcing the laws has proven difficult and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has supported the Ministry of Health to develop an enforcement policy and training package, which will be rolled out in the coming months.