27 Apr 2018

Duties credited with reducing tobacco consumption in Tonga

6:45 am on 27 April 2018

New import duties have been credited with reducing consumption of tobacco in Tonga.

Tobacco and cigarettes

Photo: 123rf

According to the Pacific Community's deputy director of public health, Sunia Soakai, the duties were having an impact on tobacco sales, with many lower income earner giving up smoking.

This was one of the areas discussed as Pacific heads of Health received a briefing in Nadi on the regional fight alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Mr Soakai said that as well as cigarettes, Tonga has tried to introduce instruments to fight consumption of fructose, unhealthy foods, alcohol, sweet beverages.

However, Tonga Ministry of Health CEO Siale Akau'ola warned retailers had been slow to drop prices on healthy foods and more public awareness is needed as the campaign gains momentum.

He said there needed to be monitoring by relevant authorities of government, to ensure the retailers actually do reduce the prices.

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