Cigarette Candies Must Go Off Shelves - Shandil

02/11/2021 12:29

The Consumer Council of Fiji (CCoF) is calling for an immediate stop to the sale of candy products mimicking the appearance of cigarette rolls. This comes after the Council found a trader in the Suva area retailing cigarette-like candy to children.

The CCoF Chief Executive Officer, Ms Seema Shandil has expressed disappointment at the trader’s disregard for the law in willfully selling the product. 

“Cigarette-like candies desensitize children to the dangers of smoking, thus instilling in their rudimentary minds that it is a normal activity done by adults which is not harmful, and depicts the act of “being cool”. The existence and sale of this product helps promote smoking as a culturally or socially acceptable activity. Additionally, Candy look-alike products allow children to respond to tobacco marketing and advertising long before they are old enough to smoke a cigarette,” she said.

Ms Shandil also stressed that the sale of such a product is a direct breach of section 17 of Fiji’s Tobacco Control Act 2010 which states that 17 (1) a person must not sell – (a) any confectionery or other food; or (b) any toy, amusement or other product; that resembles a tobacco product or e-cigarette, contains brand name, trademark of a tobacco product or e-cigarette or is packed to resemble a tobacco product or e-cigarette.

The Council’s investigation noted that the candy is being sold for one dollar per packet consisting of five white candy sticks with colored tips resembling a cigarette filter. The package also fails to disclose the manufacturer’s details; has misleading and false labels claiming to be ‘healthy’ and ‘secure’ for consumers; and does not contain nutrient contents.

“Section 13 of the Food Safety Act 2003 clearly stipulates the labelling requirements on food products that all traders must comply with prior to importing any food items to Fiji. It is therefore the sole duty of traders to disclose all such details on the packaging that ensures consumers make informed decisions,” said Ms Shandil.

“While the Council is working closely with the Tobacco Control Unit of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to ensure such products are not present in our market, parents are also urged to carefully examine product labels as a guide to nutrient contents. An absence of proper labelling should raise red flags as to suitability of the product for consumption,” she added.  

Parents are also reminded to ensure that children do not purchase or consume such products. If parents come across traders retailing candy products which mimics sin goods such as cigarettes, they must immediately call the Council on toll-free number 155 or lodge a complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.