A NEW tobacco product is now being introduced in the local market and any business willing to sell the commodity has to be registered and licensed.
Speaking to the Labasa Town Council officials during a tobacco control training, Health Ministry's Tobacco Control Unit manager Aminiasi Tavui said the electronic cigarette was already hitting the markets, mainly on Viti Levu.
"The electronic cigarette is in the market and it's battery-operated," he said.
"Once the battery is flat, the user just has to recharge it in order to use it again. The vapour comes out instead of the smoke. It also comes in different flavours such as strawberries and vanilla.
"Those who are interested in importing such products will have to pay a fee of $150,000 for their annual licence. Cabinet has given its decision of approval to the Tobacco Control (amendment) Decree 2014 and now we are just waiting for the President's decision before gazetting it.
"The decree includes the licensing and registration of the electronic cigarette importers and retailers, prohibition of sale to persons under 18 years old, and ban on advertisements and promotion to name a few."
Mr Tavui said they were also holding consultations with sellers to inform them on the decree and the product.
"Once this is done, we will also give them a grace period to have their licences done.
"We are also empowering more authorised officers not only to help them gain more knowledge on the product but also to monitor the smoke-free zones in the country."