FIJI needs to move towards being a tobacco free-country.
This was the opinion of World Health Organisation co-ordinator NCD and health promotion Dr Temo Waqanivalu at the National Wellness Policy Symposium in Suva last week.
Dr Waqanivalu said being a tobacco-free country would go a long way for Fiji.
"NCD is the biggest burden in Fiji and the Pacific," he said.
"Health and NCDs should be central to the discussion of sustainable economic development which really is the concept we need. It is now not just a health agenda, this is an economical issue."
Dr Waqanivalu commended the Health Ministry's efforts to the fight against NCDs by establishing the Tobacco Act in 1992 and Tobacco Decree 2010.
He called on other sectors to work with the ministry to ensure Fiji works towards a green economy.
"The drivers of some of these risk behaviours lie outside of health and some of them are trade and finance, in terms of the food items that find themselves on the shelves in Fiji as there is nothing much that the ministry can do about that.
"Trades and finance are the key gatekeepers as far as those are concerned, so a bit of policy on things like that would go a long way.
"The Health Ministry is going against a gradient that's quite steep because of certain obligations out of other sectors."
Dr Waqanivalu said Fiji was heading in a positive direction in the fight against NCDs but the next phase would need the assistance of other sectors.