NATION

Tibi Sellers, A Concern

The sellers said they chose to sell loose cigarettes as opposed to committing a crime. They said people come to them because it was more affordable than having to buy the whole packet.
25 Sep 2020 10:00
Tibi Sellers, A Concern
The area behind these kiosks and at the boundary of the Suva Market is a smoking hotspot. Photo: Shalveen Chand

At any one point in time, there are at least 20 tibi (single roll of cigarette) sellers together in one part of the Suva Market and the Bus Stand area.

The sellers are scattered throughout the bus stand right up to the carrier stand and the western buses area.

This despite the notice displayed behind the kiosks stating the sale of loose cigarettes is against the law and there is a $1000 fine.

This is the area where people from all walks of life come to buy a tibi for a dollar. It is a $2 profit on a pack of 10 cigarettes and $4 with the 20 pack.

It is becoming a competitive market for the tibi sellers.

The sellers said they chose to sell loose cigarettes as opposed to committing a crime. They said people come to them because it was more affordable than having to buy the whole packet.

Kiosk owner, Avinesh Ram, said the area was like a smoker’s stop where civil servants, ordinary members of the public, tertiary and secondary school students would stop by to buy a tibi.

“This is a problem. This shows a lack of enforcement by the authorities. Market Police patrol team do come to clear the place but as soon as they leave, the tibi boys are back,” Mr Ram said.

“There is a demand. I hope this is seen as a serious issue.”

Suva City Council director health, Naresh Narayan, said under the law, they could not enforce the Tobacco Control Act.

He said they could only issue advisories.

Minister for Health, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, said the Ministry of Health’s Tobacco Control Unit acted on reports.

He said the unit did not have the numbers to go around handing fines to individual tibi sellers. However they were working hand-in-hand with the municipal councils.

“This is everyone’s responsibility,” he said.

Under the Tobacco Control Act, people caught selling single cigarettes could be fined up to $1000 when caught and up to $5000 if prosecuted in court.

Edited by Selita Bolanavanua

Feedback:  shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

 

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