A DOCTOR is calling for Fiji to be made a smoke-free country.
Dr Ram Raju said his proposal was based on a number of negative factors which were being brought about by smoking.
"Smoking is the worst man-made killer," he said.
"On average, eight people die in this country everyday due to heart diseases and smoking is the highest risk factor."
Dr Raju said there was currently a high incidence of deaths because of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) among the working class and young people and that cigarettes were a cause of this.
He said because of this high incidence of CVDs, a strain was being placed on resources in hospitals and health centres costing the nation millions of dollars.
Dr Raju said declaring Fiji a smoke free Country would impact positively on other forms of substance abuse teenagers like marijuana smoking and glue sniffing.
He said tobacco control measures were failing and there was no safety as second-hand smokers and non-smokers were just as at risk of getting smoking related diseases from those who were smoking.
Dr Raju said while the declaration of a smoke free Fiji would impact those who were part of the tobacco industry, he felt there was a solution for this.
"Tobacco is farmed in rich fertile land in several areas, particularly in Sigatoka and Nadi," said Dr Raju.
"These farms should be better utilised for vegetables and fruits which could eventually lead Fiji to be self-efficient, rather than importing expensive varieties," he said.
"The tobacco factories likewise would be converted to fruit and vegetable processing plants, so no one loses out."