SUVA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- More than 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, according to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday, which marks 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, reported Fiji Broadcasting Corporation news website.
He added that there is also a threat of accessible fertile land being used for tobacco farming that saw a decline in nutritious root crops, fruits and vegetables, which has driven the cost upwards, prompting consumers to choose the cheaper and not-so-nutritious balanced diet.
It needs to be understood that fixing to get a short-term gain cannot be justified by long-term pain, the official stressed, adding that the ministry continues its efforts to protect its citizens, promote healthy choices and advocate tobacco-free settings.
Fiji was recognized with the 2023 World No Tobacco Day awards in the Western Pacific Region last week by the World Health Organization for its outstanding work in tobacco control.