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Register or be fined, tobacco vendors warned

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

TOBACCO and suki product vendors have been reminded by the Health Ministry to start registering their businesses now.

With the registration having begun on December 1, Health Minister Jone Usamate warned that failure to register would invite a cost. He said vendors who failed to pay registration fees from $5 to $20, or $200 for licensing of suki vendors, could be fined up to $5000.

"Tobacco and suki vendors must make all efforts to visit the nearest health office in the Central, Western and Northern divisions. Our Tobacco Control Team will be present to do a mass registration and licensing campaign and the certificates will be issued on site," Mr Usamate said.

"Failure to obtain a registration certificate to sell tobacco products or suki by January 31, 2016 is an offence and may incur a penalty of up to $5000. Therefore, any retailer who sells tobacco products without a valid certificate on the 1st of February 2016 is committing an offence and will be subjected to court proceedings."

This is a requirement under the Tobacco Control Decree of 2010 whereby a wholesaler, distributor or retailer who sells or distributes tobacco products and all suki vendors must make an application to be registered or renew their existing registration.

Meanwhile, so far this year, 442 smoking-related offences were recorded until the end of November 2015.

These offences included sale of single rolls, smoking in no-smoke zones, and traders selling tobacco products but failing to display the necessary signs: "No Smoking" and "We do not sell tobacco product to persons under the age of 18 years".

A spot fine of $200 is being issued to those found to be smoking in no smoke zones and $1000 for failing to display signs and the sale of single rolls.

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