Plain tobacco packaging to be introduced in the Republic of Mauritius as from 31st May 2023, announces Minister Jagutpal

“Plain tobacco packaging will be introduced in the Republic of Mauritius as from 31st May 2023, which happens to be the World No Tobacco Day.”

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, made this announcement, this morning, as he launched a three-day Multi-country tobacco control training workshop for judicial and Government legal advisors from the East and Southern Africa Sub-Region, at Le Méridien Hotel, in Pointe aux Piments.

In his address, the Health Minister explained that the Government of Mauritius would be adopting the concept of plain packaging so as to prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images and promotional information in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. “Instead, a standard green-brown colour, namely Pantone 448 C, will be applied, coupled with the pictorial warnings,” he stated.

Furthermore, the Minister declared that in a pledge to fight the rise of e-cigarettes on the market, attracting mostly teenagers, the import of e-cigarettes into the country would be banned as from 31st May 2023. Dr Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal stressed that the fight for tobacco control was a daunting task worldwide, and affirmed that it took a strong will from governments and health authorities to devise and implement policies.

Speaking about the Tobacco Control strategy in Mauritius, he pointed out that in May 2004, Mauritius became one of the first African countries to have ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, viewed as the blueprint in achieving tobacco smoke-free environments. Moreover, in line with the strong commitment of Government to considerably reduce the smoking habits of the population, he recalled that his Ministry came forward with the National Action Plan for Tobacco Control 2022-2026 in February 2022.

Moreover, Dr Jagutpal rejoiced that Mauritius had already achieved a number of milestones in anti-tobacco lobbying such as: having eight rotating pictorial warnings on cigarette packs; the successful imposition of bans on advertisement, sponsorship and promotion of tobacco products; the introduction of cost-free tobacco cessation clinics, with currently eight being operational in Mauritius and one in Rodrigues; and no new tobacco-vending licenses are being issued to retailers located within a perimeter of 200 metres around educational institutions, sports and leisure facilities, as per international standards.

Also present on the occasion, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative in Mauritius, Dr Anne Marie Ancia, emphasised that the workshop would contribute in the domestic implementation of treaties to protect public health in the African region. The spearheading of the initiative was, according to her, a testimony of the good achievement of Mauritius in protecting its population against the deadly effect of tobacco through a bold and ambitious legal framework.

She outlined some of the major steps taken by the Government to address the issue in a comprehensive manner, namely the banning of smoking in public places, and soon, the implementation of full plain tobacco packaging.
Dr Anne Marie Ancia dwelt on the social, economic and environmental consequences that resulted from tobacco use, along with the heavy burden of diseases associated to it. She pointed out that each year, some 8 million people died from tobacco-related illnesses and cautioned that tobacco killed both smokers and non-smokers.

She encouraged all the country representatives to do the needful to accelerate the domestic implementation of tobacco control measures in their respective country, in line with the WHO framework.

The workshop

Some 45 judicial officers and Government legal advisors from 15 countries are attending the workshop, which is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the WHO. The aim of the workshop is to form a core mass of legal officers to support the development and implementation of tobacco laws in their respective countries.


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