Over 1,200 people in Fiji die from tobacco use every year, causing an economic loss of millions of dollars due to healthcare costs and productivity losses.
The ministry of health said this on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, as it marked the World No Tobacco Day.
Permanent Secretary for Health in Fiji, James Fong, said Fiji was no exception, with the growth of tobacco farms around the country, fueled by the change in tobacco use from manufactured cigarettes to the commonly known rolled tobacco.
He said there was also a threat of accessible fertile land being used for tobacco farming that saw a decline in nutritious root crops, fruits and vegetables, which had driven the cost upward.
He noted that it prompted consumers to choose the cheaper and not-so-nutritious balanced diet.
It needed to be understood that fixing to get a short-term gain could not be justified by long-term pain, the official stressed.
Fong added that the ministry continued its efforts to protect its citizens, promote healthy choices and advocate tobacco-free settings.
Fiji was recognised with the 2023 World No Tobacco Day awards in the Western Pacific Region last week by the World Health Organisation for its outstanding work in tobacco control.