29 Jul 2016

Samoa MP condemns Govt support for cigarette factory

8:34 am on 29 July 2016

An opposition MP in Samoa is condemning the Government's support for a planned cigarette factory in the capital, Apia.

Aeau Peniamina Leavai says the decision to grant a license to the foreign owned tobacco company undermines efforts to improve public health in the country.

In a recent statement, the Minister of Public Enterprises Lautafi Fio Selafi Purcell, dismissed concerns about the project saying smoking was a personal choice unaffected by where a cigarette was manufactured.

But opposition MP Aeau disagrees.

"Haha I think that is a stupid argument. The point is this if you were to make a factory here definitely it is going to be cheaper than any other cigarettes from overseas and then be made available to the public."

"That is the point if they (Government) were meant to prevent non communicable diseases health hazards from cigarettes then for heaven's sake don't provide cigarettes for the people," he said.

Aeau said a lot of time and effort had been put into public health campaigns earlier in the year promoting healthy living, and how to combat the non communicable disease epidemic across the Pacific.

He said for the government to then come out in support of establishing a cigarette factory in the country was hypocritical.