The Graphic Health Warnings. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The Graphic Health Warnings. Photo credit: Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Six images and messages educating the public of the harmful effects of smoking will now appear on both the front and back of cigarette packets and other tobacco products.

The images and messages include smoking causing lung cancer and blindness as well as harming unborn babies.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services said the new health warnings demonstrate the government’s commitment to the Solomon Islands Tobacco Control Act 2010 and the Tobacco Control Regulations 2013.

Under the Tobacco Control Regulations, it is compulsory that all tobacco packaging display graphic health warnings on 70 percent of the front and 30 percent of the back of tobacco packaging from 1st January 2015.

The entire tobacco sector in Solomon Islands must conform to this.

Chair of the Tobacco Control Taskforce Committee, Dr. Cedric Alependava said the Tobacco Control Regulations are a great step toward ensuring that people are warned about tobacco – a poisonous product that causes disease and kill people.

Solomon Islands now has one of the largest graphic health warning requirements in the Pacific.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization Representative to Solomon Islands, Dr. Audrey Aumua said the graphic health warnings are to discourage the youth from smoking.

Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Tautai Angikimua Kaitu’u said the Government is committed to working with both the tobacco private sector and communities to educate people about the dangers of tobacco use.

The graphic warnings were selected and developed through focus groups with Solomon Islands community members – both smokers and non-smokers – as well as local health experts.

Other regulations include testing of toxic constituents and reporting and smoke-free areas such as on public transport and at the Honiara Central Market.

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