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Coronavirus restrictions contribute to decrease in smoking offences

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 27/04/2020

The Tobacco Unit of the Ministry of Health has recorded a decline in the number of charges due to smoking at public places compared to previous years.

A Tobacco officer from the Health Ministry – Le’omolotu Havea says, since January to date, they’ve only charged 6 people for smoking in public places compared to more than 200 they charged in 2018 and 2019. This is due to the restrictions to social gatherings and ban on kava clubs.

Havea says, the 6 people fined included 3 men and 3 women.

They were fined $100 pa’anga each by the Court for not making a Court appearance on Friday, the day set for their hearing. The court orders that if they do not pay the fine, they will be sentenced to jail for 5 days.

Havea urges the public to continue to keep the law of smoking as smoking harms not only themselves but also affect others.

The youngest age charged with smoking in public places is an 18-year-old.

© Radio and Television Tonga News

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