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Disgruntled smokers

Salaseini Moceiwai
Friday, July 18, 2014

SOME disgruntled vendors in Labasa have raised their concerns over the penalties imposed on smokers, claiming most of them are unaware of the tobacco control legislation.

Speaking on behalf of the vendors, president for the Market Vendors Association Ambika Prasad said some of them were approached by municipal officials only to be issued with penalty notices last week.

Mr Prasad said the officials informed them to pay a fine of $200 within 21 days for smoking at the market area.

"A lot of us are not aware of the legislation and most importantly, we are not aware of the designated areas for smoking," he said.

"The vendors were testing the suki leaves for their customers when the officials approached them. We tried to explain to the officials that we were just testing the leaves but they didn't consider our explanations."

Mr Prasad said it would really help if the officials designated smoking areas in town.

"We are vendors and we don't have that kind of money to pay and that's why we are requesting the authorities to create more awareness and allocate smoking zones so smokers can use them."

Labasa special administrator Vijay Chand said they were working closely with the Health Ministry and other authorities responsible to identify the smoking areas in town.

World Health Organization's Peni Veilave said a massive smoke-free awareness campaign was planned for Labasa in two to three weeks time.

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