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New Anti-Smoking Regulations Announced By Minister Jagutpal

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“A series of new regulations, including restrictions on use, sale, importation, manufacturing and distribution of tobacco products, as well as the prohibition for new vendors to operate within a radius of 200 metres around educational, sports and leisure facilities, will be implemented to curb down the number of smokers.”

The announcement was made, this morning, at the University of Mauritius in Réduit, by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal, as he proceeded with the launching of activities, organised by his Ministry, along with video clips on the harmful effects of tobacco smoking, in the context of the World No Tobacco Day 2022.

The Acting World Health Organisation Representative in Mauritius, Dr Indrajit Hazarika, was present on the occasion.

New Anti-Smoking Regulations Announced By Minister Jagutpal

The Minister indicated as well that the authorities would broaden its control umbrella to include emerging forms of tobacco products like pipe tobaccos, bidis, electric nicotine and non-nicotine cigarettes as well as heated tobacco products. Furthermore, he informed that as from January 2023, Mauritius would opt for plain packaging of tobacco products to reduce the attractiveness, advertising and promotion value associated to them.

In his address, Dr Jagutpal said that this year again, World No Tobacco Day provided the opportunity to raise awareness on the risks associated with smoking tobacco, which caused more than 8 million yearly deaths worldwide, as well as the death of more than 1.2 million passive smokers.

The Health Minister pointed out that tobacco use in Mauritius remained significant, and that it was one of the greatest causes of noncommunicable diseases in the country. He dwelt on the governmental measures elaborated to curb down tobacco use among the population, namely extensive sensitisation and awareness programmes, tobacco cessation, and stringent legislations. “Our message is being reengineered in order to reach youngsters who remain the main targets of marketing strategies of the tobacco industry,” he added.

New Anti-Smoking Regulations Announced By Minister Jagutpal

Speaking about this year’s theme, ‘Tobacco: Threat to our environment’, Dr Kailesh Jagutpal observed that giving up tobacco would also positively impact on the environment. “The annual greenhouse gas contribution of the tobacco industry amounts to some 84 megatons of carbon dioxide and the tobacco growth is also a leading cause for deforestation especially in developing countries,” he stated.

For his part, Dr Indrajit Hazarika recalled that tobacco was a silent but relentless killer, among whose victims, 3% were from the African continent. He highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic had been another reminder of the harmful impacts of tobacco on health, as smokers were at higher risks of developing severe forms of the novel coronavirus.

Moreover, Dr Indrajit Hazarika congratulated the Government and the Health Ministry for their dedication and commitment to tobacco control efforts in the country. While lauding the new set of bold control measures set out by the Government, he emphasised that Mauritius was an example in the region regarding good practices and was leading the way for plain packaging in the region. He also informed that the WHO had provided legal expertise to Mauritius in this endeavour and renewed its collaboration to work with Mauritius for the implementation of the new regulations.

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