HEALTH ministry to use ‘full force of the law’ on tobacco crimes
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is investigating allegations that a tobacco company has produced cigarettes without a licence and without packaging approval.
“Youki” branded cigarettes have been seen at local stores, however MHMS has confirmed that it has not issued a manufacturing licence or any other form of consent to a new company.
It is a crime to manufacture cigarettes without a licence in Solomon Islands and heavy penalties apply, including large fines and imprisonment.
“Any companies that are found to be manufacturing without a license will face the full force of the law,” said Dr Tenneth Dalipanda, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
“Serious investigations are currently underway.”
Tobacco kills people and causes chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
More than one in two people in the Solomon Islands die an early death because of diseases like these.
Tobacco companies are aware of this risk, but continue to make cigarettes for their own profit.
“Solomon Islands has tobacco laws that are designed to protect the health of the public against the dangers of tobacco use,” said Dalipanda.
“Companies that do not respect these laws will not continue to operate in this country.”
The MHMS urges any person who comes across ‘Youki’ branded cigarettes to immediately notify the Police.