1 May 2009

Marshall survey shows widespread illegal tobacco sales

4:22 pm on 1 May 2009

A survey in the Marshall Islands has found that a majority of small shops still sell tobacco illegally.

A Majuro-based non-profit organisation, Marshalls Prevention Group, used teenagers in its annual operation to purchase tobacco products throughout Majuro and Ebeye.

This year's final results are yet to be released, but the group says there has been an improveent over last year.

In 2008, on Majuro, 91 of 100 shops sold tobacco to minors, while on Ebeye all 29 sold to minors.

Tobacco use by teenagers is seen by health officials as a serious and growing problem in the Marshall Islands.

A recent survey of high school students here showed that nearly half smoked cigarettes or chewed tobacco, while another 21 percent chewed betel nut, which is frequently accompanied by tobacco.