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Fiji Time: 6:49 PM on Tuesday 2 September

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President wants end to tobacco

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

PRESIDENT Ratu Epeli Nailatikau called for the end of tobacco production in the country.

He cited the high cost of medical treatment and loss of life against employment and revenue collection from the industry.

Speaking at the opening of the Western Pacific regional meeting of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Nadi on Monday, he said according to the data available for 2011, 27.1 per cent of male adults and 6 per cent of female adults smoked daily.

"It appears from the record that our people are dying at a young age from NCD-related illnesses," Ratu Epeli said.

"It is on record that an estimated 45.6 per cent of male adults and 38 per cent of female adults are dying before the age of 60.

"I'm advised that tobacco costs more in medical care and treatment, in significant losses to the quality of life, and in contributing to a shorter life span than any benefit derived through employment or through revenue collection. So I ask why grow it? And I further say: it is time to replace it with an alternative crop."

Ratu Epeli reinforced his statement by highlighting global statistics on medical evidence of tobacco-related deaths.

"I am also advised that no consumer product harms or kills as many people as tobacco does.

"It is reported that tobacco contributed to the deaths of a massive 100 million people in the 20th century. Unless the world acts quickly and vigorously, it is estimated that tobacco could kill up to one billion people in the 21st century.

"The sad reality is that all of these deaths are preventable."

The meeting, held at the Radisson Blu Resort, ends today.


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