Police in Harare have arrested more than 2 000 smokers, retailers and vendors for selling unpacked, single cigarettes. The suspects were arrested under an ongoing operation code-named Chengetedzai Hutano (Guard your health) which was launched to curb smoking in public places and sale of loose cigarettes.
Selling unpacked cigarettes and smoking in public places are in contravention of sections of Statutory Instrument 264 of 2002, Public Health (Control of Tobacco) Regulations of 2002.
According to SI 264 of 2002, cigarette manufacturers must use the mandatory health warning that reads “Danger: Smoking is Harmful to Health”. Loose cigarettes do not bear that warning as it is only found on the packaging.
Acting Harare provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Tarirai Dube said: “From January 10 to Monday, we have made 2 009 arrests. We are targeting retailers, shops and vendors who contravene sections of Statutory Instrument 264 of 2002 which prohibits the selling of unpacked cigarettes and cigarette packaging without a health warning sign.”
According to the law, the manager, owner or person in charge of any public premise shall prominently display clearly legible signs indicating areas in which smoking is prohibited or permitted.
Retailers and wholesalers must also have prominent signs showing that the sale of tobacco and related products to people under the age of 18 is illegal.