Health Steps Up Monitoring as Tobacco Sale to Minors Raises Concerns

Fiji’s Ministry of Health plans to step up surveillance and monitoring and calling on parents to monitor their children in light of the increased sale of tobacco, including a local mixture called Kopen or ‘FlipFlop’, to minors.

Kopen is made by grinding tobacco (suki) and mixing it with turpentine or rum, and it is placed between the lower lip and teeth, causing a dizzy sensation as it slowly releases its juices.

While the ingredients used in Kopen are not legally restricted for adults, the ministry says it is alarmed by the distribution and sale of suki to minors.

The Tobacco Control Act 2010 prohibits selling or supplying tobacco products or e-cigarettes to individuals under 18 years of age.

According to the Tobacco Control Act 2010, Section 13 states that a person must not;

  • Sell or supply any tobacco product or e-cigarette to a person under the age of 18 years;
  • Purchase a tobacco product or e-cigarette for the use of a person under the age of 18 years;

“The Ministry of Health & Medical Services will ensure their Tobacco Control Enforcement Officers will increase surveillance, monitoring, and visibility on the ground.”

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