By Jack Lapauve Jr, EMTV – Port Moresby
The World Health Organization is calling on countries to end the illicit trade of tobacco products.
The illicit trade of tobacco is now a concern with its increased accessibility and low cost.
This was the message emphasised during the ‘World No Tobacco Day 2015’ yesterday.
The scale of the problem does not really surround the illegal trade of tobacco, but concerns to health, economy, governance and corruption.
In PNG, the growing trend is the high number of youths, or young adults, that smoke up to 15 cigarettes a day, and in most circumstances the cigarette is accompanied by betelnut.
The threat now is the availability of illicit tobacco been less expensive, posing detrimental health risk and takes away government revenue.
Early this month, PNG British American Tobacco stated that 11% of tobacco consumed in PNG is smuggled through our borders resulting in the government losing more than K26 million in revenue every year.
Currently, the penalty for smuggling illegal tobacco into PNG is K2,000.
The enforcement of the penalties is still unsound which allows smugglers to bring in illegal cigarettes.
World No Tobacco Day is not just about smoking the right type of smoke, or putting a stop to smoking habits, but it breakdowns a family budget, a countries economy, and one’s health.