Tobacco Free Initiative

Pacific Workshop on Implementation of the Regional Action Plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific (2015-2019) - Press Release

Fiji hosts Pacific neighbours to unite for tobacco control

November 16, 2015 - Fiji will host its regional neighbours for the Pacific Workshop on Implementation of the WHO FCTC and Regional Action plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative in the Western Pacific (2015-19) from 17 to 19 November in Nadi.

Just over one year since the Pacific Health Ministers adopted the Tobacco Free Pacific 2025 goal much progress has been made to strengthen tobacco control. “With just 10 years left on the clock, intensive effort is needed to make an impact on tobacco use levels in the Pacific. WHO is fully committed to continuing its support to Pacific islands and saving lives by strengthening tobacco control,” stated Dr Liu Yunguo, Director of the WHO Division of Pacific Technical Support.

Participants representing 20 Pacific islands will come together to review and share experiences on progress against the Regional Action Plan for the Tobacco Free Initiative of the Western Pacific (2015-2019); identify legislative and implementation gaps and actions to fill those gaps.

“Fiji will share its experiences, particularly on enforcement successes and challenges; and seek to learn from other Pacific islands about actions, which may be appropriate and adapted for Fiji’s context,” said Mr Nafiz Ali, acting Manager of the Tobacco Control Enforcement Unit.

Between 2002 and 2011 the current tobacco smoking rate among adults ages 25-64 years decreased from 42.4% to 30.8%. “Fiji has been a leader in tobacco control, but there is still much to do. Although there has been a drop in the number of current tobacco users, according to the national NCD STEPS survey, the rate of daily smokers has only decreased by 0.9% between 2002 and 2011. Therefore, in addition to the efforts we’ve made so far, we plan to do more to support those addicted to tobacco to quit,” noted Dr Isimeli Tukana, National NCD Adviser at the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

To keep the momentum and work towards a tobacco free Fiji, the government has implemented requirements for graphic and local language health warnings; supported tax increases on tobacco products to make them less affordable; carried out multiple national awareness campaigns; and expanded declarations of smoke-free public places.

“Fiji is well on its way to being tobacco free, but we need communities to continue to support and uphold tobacco control laws including those that ban smoking in various public places including public service vehicles and that ban single roll cigarette sales,” urged Dr Tukana.

For more information please contact:

Dr Ada Moadsiri
WHO DPS Office
Suva, Fiji