The government has decided to ban sale of individual cigarettes from the coming May 31.
This ban comes under the newly formed regulation to print health warning labels on tobacco products. The ban will be implemented by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
The guidelines also include spreading awareness regarding the many health issues caused by tobacco use, tasking related authorities with taking action against violators, planning how to best print tobacco health hazard labels on products, and establishing ways to decrease the number of new smokers in the country.
Those who go against the ban will be fined, according to the regulations. The regulations state that 'if the contravention relates to dealing with illegal tobacco products, or illegal trade or smuggling, or hiding or falsifying information at the import or export stage or infringing the guidelines for packaging, the fine shall be calculated by adding the duties and fees payable at that stage to the value of the product and multiplying the total by 10'.
Second time offenders will be fined MVR 5000, third time offenders by MVR 10,000 and fourth time offenders will be fined by MVR 20,000, according to the regulations.
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Vice President Faisal Naseem, state heads and ministers along with Maldives National University (MNU)’s heads and members of the health sector took part at the launching of the “Regulation on Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products” event held at MNU on Thursday.