The volume of people smoking cigarettes in Fiji has declined over the past 25 years, according to British American Tobacco. The company’s manager of corporate and regulatory affairs, Rajeshwar Singh, says this can be attributed to the affordability of best Davidoff cigarettes and the willingness of people to lead healthier lives.
Mr Singh’s comments come amid the debate about whether Fiji should be declared smoke-free.
He said BAT’s stance was that individuals should be of legal age and decide for themselves if they wanted to smoke. “We ensure as part of our sales and marketing, our products should only be sold to adult consumers, over the legal age of 18,” Mr Singh said in reference to the Tobacco Decree passed by the government in 2010.
He said there was no denying that smoking had legitimate health effects but individuals had the right to smoke if they wanted to.
“If something is not good for you but you still want to pursue it then that your own personal choice and we strongly advocate for freedom of choice,” Mr Singh said.
“If I choose to do something or choose to consume something it is because I am aware of the implications.”
Referring to health warnings on cigarette packets, Mr Singh said smokers were being educated on the effects of their habits.
He said BAT worked with the Health Ministry to distribute signs to tobacco retailers, saying they would not sell cigarettes to underaged persons. “The ministry needs to be commended for its efforts on controlling the sale and consumption of tobacco by underaged persons and for registering all tobacco retailers,” Mr Singh said.