No butts in Samoan village's smoking ban

By JOHN ANDREWS

A tiny Samoan village has declared itself smokefree, fining anyone who breaches the ban and threatening to banish repeat offenders.

The idea came from the women of Fagamalo, on the island of Savaii, and has been put in place by village chiefs.

Even cigarette-toting tourists are not exempt. If they light up within the village environs, they will be asked politely to stop or to leave.

Inveterate village smokers who think they can get away with a sneaky puff or two outside the village boundaries have to think twice.

They risk the village's standard 20 Samoan tala ($15) fine if they are spotted.

Fagamalo's dob-a-smoker scheme allows for half the fine to go to those who report smokers they catch.

The rest goes towards the cost of putting up more no-smoking signs in the village of about 500.

Women's committee members visit village families each fortnight to check the ban is being observed.

Village chiefs have so far fined six smokers, one of them twice.

And they are threatening to impose heavier fines if smokers do not see the error of their ways.

The ban was the brainchild of Finoa Faamoe, who followed up on television advertisements and Health Department warnings about smoking being bad for health.

Supported by fellow women's committee members, Mrs Faamoe's village-wide smoking ban idea was put to its ruling council.

Village chief Faamoetauloa Etene said that after agreeing to declare their territory smokefree and impose fines on violators, all village elders, himself included, stopped smoking.

"Other villages are now starting to follow us."

Since smoking had been banned, he said, villagers had noticed more money available for child education.

Fagamalo minister the Rev Sileli Tauaifaiga said 40 per cent of village residents used to smoke. The number had since dropped by three-quarters.

nzherald.co.nz/health

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