Both smokers and non smokers are usually curious about smoking in Mauritius. The former usually about cigarette prices in Mauritius, and the latter typically wants to know if he or she can escape the smoke in restaurants.
With more than a third of the country’s population hooked on tobacco, smoking in Mauritius is difficult to escape for the non smoker. Although the Government of Mauritius has made it illegal to smoke in public places, restaurants included – the law is unfortunately more preach than practice.
Despite non smoking signs and prohibition by law – most restaurants in Mauritius still provide ashtrays for their customers, and smoking openly can be seen in most bars, clubs and restaurants across the island.
Tobacco is cultivated all over the island, and around 400 tonnes of tobacco leaf is produced annually in Mauritius, according to the Tobacco Board. This makes tobacco a substantial cash crop for the Government of Mauritius and its tobacco producers.
British American Tobacco flagship products Matinée and Embassy are currently a couple of the more successful cigarette brands in Mauritius, in terms of market share, but with the growing expatriate population, international brands are on the rise, such as Dunhill, Marlboro and Benson & Hedges.
The tobacco industry in Mauritius is regulated by law in the Tobacco Production and Marketing Act, and setup under the Tobacco Production and Marketing Ordinance of 1930.
In practice it is regulated by the parastatal Tobacco Board, heavily controlled by one of the world’s largest tobacco companies – British American Tobacco. Cigarette production closed down officially in 2007 when British American Tobacco moved its production facilities to Kenya. The tobacco produced in Mauritius today is mostly exported to Kenyan or Zimbabwean production facilities.
As for the 2012 price of cigarettes in Mauritius, local brands such as Matinée and Embassy will set you back a modest Rs 100 per pack of 20 cigarettes, with international brands such as Marlboro and Dunhill being slightly more expensive.
For the non smokers wishing to escape the smoke, it is usually safe to head towards the more upmarket restaurants in Mauritius, since these are usually more strict on the adherence to the non smoking policies and laws.