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“A series of new rules, including limits on use, sale, importation, production, and the distribution of different tobacco products, will be introduced to reduce the number of smokers.”

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Kailesh Jagutpal, made this statement this morning at the University of Mauritius, as he launched activities and video clips on the negative consequences of tobacco smoking for World No Tobacco Day 2022.

Dr. Indrajit Hazarika, WHO’s acting Mauritius representative, attended.

The Minister said authorities will expand their regulation to encompass bidis, pipe tobaccos, electric nicotine as well as non-nicotine cigarettes, and heated tobacco products. Mauritius will choose for simple packaging of nicotine products in January 2023 to diminish their appeal, advertising, and marketing value.

In his remarks, Dr. Jagutpal said World No Tobacco Day was a chance to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking, which causes more than 8 million deaths a year worldwide and kills upwards of 1.2 million silent smokers.

The Health Minister noted that tobacco smoking remained a major cause of non-communicable illnesses in Mauritius. He discussed government strategies to reduce tobacco use, including comprehensive sensitization and awareness programs, cigarette cessation, and strict regulations. “Our message is reengineered to reach youngsters,” he said.

Dr. Kailesh Jagutpal noted that giving up cigarettes will also benefit the environment. “Tobacco expansion is also a key source of deforestation, especially in underdeveloped nations,” he said.

Dr. Indrajit Hazarika noted that 3 percent of tobacco’s victims were African. He said the COVID-19 pandemic was a reminder of the negative effects of cigarettes, since smokers were more likely to get severe versions of the new coronavirus.

Dr. Indrajit Hazarika praised the government and the ministry of health for their tobacco control efforts. He praised the government’s new set of aggressive control measures and said Mauritius was a model for excellent standards and plain packaging in the sector. He also said the WHO provided legal advice to Mauritius and maintained its partnership to execute the new legislation.

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