How Children are Responding back to Tobacco Industry Targeting in Uganda

As we prepare for the World No Tobacco Day on 31st 2018, young people are
Under the Kuteesa Foundation, which is a For The Boy Child organisation had a Boys’ Mentorship Program Work Experience week last week, and among the activities, the boys were involved in were skits themed Tobacco Use Affects Kids Too and Prono Is Bad for You.

Boys’ Mentorship Program on in Tobacco Control Skits to their parents

The Tobacco Use Affects Kids Too skit demonstrated in one scene a father sends his child to buy for him cigarettes. The father also asks the child later to light the cigarette for him.
It should be known that as early as 5 years, many children are exposed to tobacco-related diseases because their parents use it in their presences or areas of occupancy.
The audience which was full of parents of the sons was amazed, educated and entertained through these skits that showed them the dangers children face when exposed to tobacco smoke.
Boys sharing what looks like a cigarette

From the skit, the child steals a tobacco stick from his dad which he later shares with some of his friends. Many children after seeing their parents smoke tobacco go on to try it out, and even share with some of their close friends, and the behaviour grows.Later in the skit, we see one of the friends dying. Before DEATH, many children who use tobacco suffer from diseases like; Cancer, Heart diseases and other effects such as; Bad breath, Teeth problems, Sore mouths.
The Kuteesa foundation is one of the many advocate organisation spreading the messageof tobacco control among young people as a way of implementing the Tobacco Control Act in Uganda. The Boys’ Mentorship Programme, One Mentor One Son and the Fighters are the main tools this foundation uses to voice and spread the effects of smoking.

UNHCO Won the MPOWER Award for Enforcing Bans on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Uganda National Health Consumers Organization Honored for its Comprehensive Advertising Bans at Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control

UNHCO Wins MPOWER Award for Enforcing Bans on Tobacco Advertising

Uganda National Health Consumers Organization (UNHCO), was honoured at an awards ceremony in South Africa during the Bloomberg Philanthropies Awards for Global Tobacco Control – the 17thWorld Conference on Tobacco or Health. UNHCO was given the MPOWER award forEnforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
Congratulations to Uganda National Health Consumers Organization and all of the winners for their outstanding work, which is saving lives every day, said WHO Global Ambassador for Non-communicable Diseases and Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Over the last decade the global effort to fight tobacco use has come farther than almost anyone imagined possible but we will have a long way to go, and these honorees are helping to lead the way forward.

Robinah Kaitiritimba of UNHCO at the 17th WCTOH

Uganda enacted the comprehensive Tobacco Control Act in 2015, the tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) measures are particularly strong and represent best practices in that they completely ban all forms, methods, and means of domestic and cross-border TAPS. The Act also includes an illustrative list of the forms, methods and means of TAPS banned, including a catch-all covering any other forms, methods or means of TAPS. UNHCO is proud to have been associated in the Tobacco Control struggle with the Ministry of Health, tobacco control advocates, and enforcement agencies, the Parliament of Uganda, Kampala City Council Authority and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
One award was given in each of the MPOWER categories. MPOWER categories include:Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies;Protecting people from tobacco smoke with smoke-free air legislation;Offering help to quit tobacco use;Warning about the dangers of tobacco with pack labels and mass media;Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; andRaising taxes on tobacco.
“It is our noble duty to protect the young people and the future generation from the aggressive marketing and deceptive schemes of the Tobacco Industry to realize health gains. There is a lot of work to do in this area. But to start with, reform the excise taxes so that cigarettes can become more expensive regardless of the country of origin. To that end, all our eyes are on Parliament to increase the budget for the Ministry of Health to promote prevention against tobacco exposure.” stands the state from the advocates.
Honorees for 2018 are:

  • M: Vietnam Ministry of Health
  • P: Fondo Solidario para la Salud (FOSALUD) de El Salvador
  • O: Fundacin Interamericana del Corazn Mxico
  • W: Senegal Ministry of Health
  • E: Uganda National Health Consumers Organization
  • R: Argentina Ministry of Health, Ministry of Treasury, and FIC

The Bloomberg Awards for Global Tobacco Control was first hosted in 2009 at the 14thWorld Health Conference on Tobacco and or Health in Mumbai and most recently in 2015 when the 16thConference was held in Abu Dhabi.
In 2009, the four Bloomberg Awards winners were:

  • M: Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria
  • P: Mexico City Secretary of Health
  • W: Action on Smoking and Health Thailand
  • E: Coalicin Panamea contra el Tabaquismo

In 2012, the Bloomberg Awards winners were:

  • M: Health Justice Philippines
  • P: Turkish National Coalition on Tobacco or Health
  • W: Uruguay Ministry of Health
  • E: Corporate Accountability International Colombia and Fundacion para la Educacion y el Desarrollo Social
  • R: Egyptian Ministry of Finance

In 2015, the Bloomberg Award winners were:

  • M: Brazil Ministry of Health and National Institute of Statistics
  • P: Regional Advocacy Life Center (Ukraine)
  • O: Uruguay Ministry of Health
  • W: Nepal Ministry of Health and Population
  • E: KONFOP
  • R: Philippines Department of Finance and Department of Health

Police arrested shisha smokers and sellers

Police in Kampala has arrested Over 3 and closed shisha sellers shops for contravening the anti-tobacco act 2015 today, that banned smoking shisha and other toxic substances in Uganda.
In the operation led by DR Akello from KCCA and CPS commander, several sellers were picked from places of Transnile plaza and Kalungi plaza in Kampala.
DR Akello said that these are to be charged under the Tobacco control act 2015 and if found guilty, one may be liable to imprisonment for a period of six months or a fine of sh480, 000 or both.
This is not the first time for police to arrest shisha sellers, the similar operation was carried out in Kampala especially in bars.

Uganda's School Going Children Targeted to Start Tobacco Use – Report

The infographic below is curated by the Uganda National health Users /Consumers’ organisation (UNHCO) report about the Tobacco Industry advertising and selling tobacco products in shops around schools.

This is a map showing that around KCCA’s Kamwokya Primary School there are 6 temporary kiosks, 1 Convenience store selling tobacco products, 6 posters, 1 advertisement on a building and 3 billboards.

With emphasis from the African Tobacco Alliance, it has been concluded that the tobacco companies are targeting school children in Africa by advertising and promoting cigarettes around schools.
Uganda has been named as one on the countries in Africa that are contravening the World Health Organisation (WHO) laws on Tobacco control laws but the Tobacco Industry is undermining this law by targeting schools in Kampala, Mukono and Jinja have shops around them selling cigarettes.
The report revealed that majority schools surveyed have shops selling cigarettes and mainly single sticks, displayed next to sweets and snacks.
Deowan Mohee, the executive director African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) said while releasing the report to the media a few weeks ago that;
Studies show that tobacco advertising and sales around schools encourage children to smoke. Previously secret internal tobacco industry documents released as a result of U.S litigation settlements show that tobacco companies have purposefully targeted students and directed their advertising and promotions to stores near schools.
Uganda recently passed a Tobacco control Law prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces. Tobacco products such as Shisha, electronic nicotine and smokeless or flavoured tobacco products were also banned.
According to WHO, tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats, killing about 6 million people annually. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
Leonce Sessou, the communication Manager ATCA said African government authorities must protect our children from the tactics of the tobacco companies. We are calling on our governments and policymakers to enforce existing legislation governing tobacco advertising, promotion and sale,
In 2008 WHO reported that people who do not start smoking before the age of 21 are unlikely to start.
Moses Talibita from UNHCO said they are requesting churches to sensitize the public about the dangers of tobacco use.
Countries that participated in the study the research forBig Tobacco Tiny Targets included Uganda, Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso.

East African Court of Justice Stopped URA collecting Tax from BAT

Tobacco Control in Uganda suffered a set back in making tobacco products less affordable following East African Court accepting the application for an injunction against the Excise Duty (Amendment) Act 2017.
When Tobacco products are more expensive, Uganda registers many health gains such as less exposure to Tobacco smoke resulting from reduced smoking. Also, this raises revenue because the products are expensive and whatever tax collected supports fighting diseases caused by tobacco exposure.
The Call to Action was: Tobacco Control Advocates stand together with URA to pursue the main suit to its logical conclusion for the sake of public health.
See the PDF below as the Injunction Application Judgement by the East African Court.
[pdf-embedder url=”http://tobaccocontrol.ug/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Applicaiton-No13.pdf” title=”The East African Injunction Application Judgement by the East African Court.”]

Uganda Government urged to raise tobacco tax

Tobacco haspassed the test of being the most toxic legal product which kills its users when used according to prescription.
The Government of Uganda is urged by the Uganda Tobacco Control Coordination forum save lives by raising the tobacco tax, amending the Excise Duty Act, and Avoiding Destructive Legal Tussle.
On the 25th January 2018, the East African Court of Justice granted BATU an interim injunction on the collection of excise duty that is over and above the amounts levied on Ugandan products in the Ugandan Market.
The background is that, in 2017, Parliament amended the Excise Duty Act, imposing the different excise tax on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages with lower rates for products produced in Uganda and higher rates for similar imported products. This differential taxation is the basis for the legal challenge from British American Tobacco.
According to the company, imposing a different excise duty on goods from Kenya as opposed to similar goods from Uganda contravenes the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community and the Protocol on the establishment of the East African Customs Unions of 2004.
As World Trade Organization Agreements also emphasizes the principle of non-discrimination between domestic and imported products, it is possible that similar suits will follow from WTO partners who export cigarettes to Uganda, such as countries that host Philip Morris International, a major cigarette producer with products in our market.
The current legal challenge from BATU and other potential suits could very well delayUganda from implementing life-saving increases in tobacco tax.
The Government of Uganda risks being drawn into an unhelpful legal battle over tobacco tax. This battle will ultimately be costly in terms of lives lost to tobacco-caused disease if the government is delayed in its good faith, evidence-based efforts to raise taxes on tobacco.

The government should instead focus on raising tobacco excise tax and updating the Excise Duty Act to eliminate the issues being contested.
We recommend that the Government of Uganda move to amend the Excise Duty Act to provide for equal treatment for locally manufactured and imported tobacco products. By doing this, the country will comply with Ugandas obligations and commitments under the Uganda Tobacco Control Act, the EAC Treaties and protocols and WTO agreements.
Further, we recommend that Uganda avoids engaging in the legal tussle of appealing the judgment of the EAC Court, given the legal commitments the country has made. Tobacco use creates a significant economic burden on society due to high direct and indirect health costs associated with tobacco-related diseases, disability, and premature loss of life.
In Uganda, the total health cost of tobacco use including direct cost of treatment, indirect costs of loss of income, and productivity from death and disability is UGX 328.82 Billion (USD 126.48).
Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, to which Uganda is a party, obligates parties to use tax measures to reduce tobacco consumption by ensuring the high price of tobacco products, while at the same time increasing government revenue to address its negative economic and health effects.
Under the treaty, Uganda is legally obligated to raise excise tax for all tobacco products to reduce affordability thereby reducing tobacco consumption, as well as reducing government expenditure on tobacco-related health care costs associated with tobacco consumption.
Tobacco has passed the test of being the most toxic legal product which kills its users when used according to prescription. WHO has stated that tobacco kills up to half of its users because it contains more than 7000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and at least 69 are known to cause cancer.
The taxation of the tobacco productsis, therefore, a way of promoting public health by increasing the price. Economic interests of tobacco companies should therefore not supersede human rights and public health.
To ensure the maximum health and economic benefits, the government should consider the following options:

  1. Tobacco Tax should be regularly raised in consideration of inflation rates and increase in income to reduce affordability especially for young people and the poor.
  2. Adopt the WHO FCTC recommended tax system for tobacco products, which is the specific and uniform (no tiers of a soft cap or hinge lid) tax system.
  3. The tax should be increased progressively until the share of the excise tax to the total retail price per pack is above 70%.
  4. Apply the same excise tax for both local tobacco products and the imported tobacco products in line with the WHO FCTC recommendations.
  5. Prevent illicit trade through tax evasion by acceding to and implementing the provisions of the Protocol for Elimination of Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The Uganda Tobacco Control Law

Intrested in reading the full copy of the Tobacco Control Law, please see it below. You can also download it.
[pdf-embedder url=”http://tobaccocontrol.ug/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/pdfresizer.com_2016-10-11_13-25.pdf” title=”pdfresizer-com_2016-10-11_13-25″]

Uganda takes lead in African for Tobacco Control

This year, the day was held under the theme Get prepared for plain packaging. Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colors, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard color and font style.
Uganda has taken lead in Africa by fulfilling its obligations to enact a comprehensive Tobacco Control Act. This law was launched during the World No Tobacco Day commemoration at a breakfast meeting in Imperial Royale Hotel. World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every 31 st May to highlight the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Dr. Maina from World Health Organization noted that plain packaging is an important demand-reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts the use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labeling and increases the effectiveness of health warnings. It also complements other strategies on tobacco control.
Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye who also represented the Guest of Honor, Prime Minister of Uganda noted that this is the strongest tobacco control law in the region. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey indicates that about 10% of Ugandans use tobacco among adults while among the youth it’s much higher at 17%. He highlighted that some of the disturbing emerging trends include a rise of tobacco use among women and youth. The increase also noted the introduction of the non-conventional use of tobacco especially shisha (water pipe tobacco) and chewed tobacco such as kuber. Electronic cigarettes have also been introduced in Uganda.
Hon. Tumwesigye urged Ugandans to follow H.E. Yoweri Museveni as a role model for healthy lifestyles. Ugandans should emulate President Yoweri Museveni who leads by example in promoting a healthy lifestyle. We have a leader who does not drink alcohol or consume tobacco products and engages in physical activity. This promotes a healthy lifestyle and a healthy nation at large he said.
Globally, the consumption of tobacco products leads to the death of more than 5 million people.Tobacco is one of the leading preventable risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and diabetes.
Minister of State for General Duties, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, was recognized by World HealthOrganization in 2015 as one of the global champions in tobacco control informed that Uganda is still grappling with an increase in noncommunicable diseases notably high blood pressure and other heart diseases and cancers which is attributed to the consumption of tobacco products. This has been backed by research conducted in Uganda and in different parts of the world.
The passing of the tobacco control law has the following provisions;
1. Establishment of a Tobacco Control Committee chaired by Office of the Prime Minister with the Secretariat at the Ministry of Health.
2. Tobacco smoke-free environment by prohibiting smoking in all public places, workplaces, means of transport and other outdoor space within 50metres of a public place
3. Display of notices stopping smoking in the public places with words in English, Kiswahili and local languages spoken in the region.
4. The law completely bans advertising, promotion, and sponsorship by tobacco manufacturers, distributors, and sellers (usually referred to as Tobacco Industry) including points of sale in shops etc.
5. The law bans some tobacco products including Shisha (waterpipe tobacco), smokeless tobacco such as Kuber which is chewed and flavored tobacco products. The law further bans the production, sale, and use of electronic cigarettes which are being promoted by the tobacco industry.
6. The Tobacco Control Act bans supply and involvement in processes of production, sale, and use of tobacco by people below 21years of age (referred to as minors)
7. The law bans importation, manufacture, and sale of tobacco products which do not conform to standards of government regarding contents of the products and their emissions when used.
The contents and emissions will be elaborated in the regulations.
8. To protect public health policies for tobacco control, the law bans unnecessary interactions with tobacco businesses, giving incentives and privileges for tobacco businesses and receiving voluntary contributions from those businesses. Public Servants can only interact for official work of regulation and because this must be transparent, regulations governing such interactions will be developed and disseminated to government officials.
9. The law provides for authorized people to enforce it in addition to the usual law enforcement agents including police, environment protection officers, Health Inspectors and MunicipalityEnforcement Officers.
Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, Program Manager for Mental Health and Substance abuse was commended for her unwavering support in passing the Tobacco Control Law.
The Ministry appreciated the media, development partners and civil society organizations for their continued support in sensitizing and enhancing public awareness on the consumption and dangers of tobacco products and appealed to Ugandans to ensure full implementation of this law to prevent the population from the devastating effects of tobacco and its products.
SOURCE: MinistryOf Health

Uganda Tobacco Control Advocates Position Statement to the Uganda Delegation on International Labour Organisation Tobacco Industry Relationship

The WHO FCTC in recognition that tobacco industry interference posses the single greatest threat to tobacco control efforts worldwide included Article 5.3 which reads;
In setting and implementing their public health policies with respect to tobacco control, Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry in accordance with national law.Uganda signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, (WHO FCTC) in 2005, and ratified it on 20th June 2007.Asa party to the convention; we have an obligation to implement all its provisions without reservations.
The domestication process of this convention started as early as 2008, however, it was slowed by various counter-strategies from the tobacco industry including lobbying policy makes self-regulation, litigation threats, Corporate Social Responsibility, misrepresentation of the FCTC spirit, exaggeration of their economic contribution to Uganda among others.
Because tobacco industry interference was the single greatest threat to our national tobacco control efforts and in fulfillment of our treaty obligations under the WHO FCTC, the Government of Uganda devised measures to embed the letter and spirit of Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC in its National legislation and policy process and finally on 28th July 2015, the Parliament of Uganda passed a comprehensive, WHO FCTC compliant Tobacco Control law as a whole Part (viii)) in favor of Article 5.3.
Its therefore against this background that we write to you;
The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the only organ of the UN that still has ties to the Tobacco Industry and tomorrow it has an opportunity to stand on the right side of history and protect workers over corporate profits. The ILO will finally decide whether it, too, will sever ties with the Tobacco Industry. The decision set to come at its ongoing governing body meeting thismonth could shutter one of the tobacco industry last remaining avenues of influence to the United Nations.
This decision comes as a global call by public health and labour leaders around the globe who delivered a letter to government representatives of the ILO Governing Body calling on them to end the ILO’s public-private partnerships with the tobacco industry because of its devastating health, socioeconomic and environmental effects to the global community.
Global public health leaders from the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)and global tobacco control organizations have long called for the ILO to shut its doors to the Tobacco Industry.
There is great prevalence of child labour in many countries in the tobacco-growing areas including Uganda which exposes children to many hazards, notably long working hours, heat exhaustion, respiratory orders, injuries, accidents, poisoning and health problems from being exposed to pesticides, musculoskeletal injuries, and green tobacco sickness, which is caused by nicotine absorbed through the skin from contact with wet tobacco leaves which is a threat to public health.
In the past 15 years, the ILO has received more than $15 million USD from tobacco corporations for joint programs, including more than $10 million from Japan Tobacco International for its Achieving Reduction of Child Labour in Supporting of Education (ARISE) program. The industry promotes these programs to boost its public relations, but they do little to curb child labor in tobacco fields because they do not shift the tobacco industry-driven cycle of poverty for tobacco farmers that forces children into the fields.
During this ongoing 332nd session of the Governing Body, the ILO will decide whether to follow the recommendation of the UN Interagency Task Force on NCDs and the Economic and Social Council resolution urging members of the task force to adopt internal policies that protect against conflicts of interest with the tobacco industry.
The government of Uganda as a state party to the ILO and a member of ILO & governing board, is currently attending the session of the Governing Body and at this debate that started this week, the government of Uganda supposedly on behalf of the African region, vehemently opposed this proposal. This position is however contrary to Uganda’s policy by virtue of its being party to the WHO FCTC with specific reference to Article 5.3 and part viii of the UgandaTobacco Control Act that prohibits government partnerships with the Tobacco Industry, any corporate social responsibility from the Tobacco Industry and therefore Uganda’s current position at the ILO amounts to conflict of interest which is a breach of our own law.

Recommendations

1. The Government of Uganda should support the ILO office position to
sever ties with the Tobacco Industry
2. The Government of Uganda should send a communication to the Ugandan
delegation to immediately retract their statement because it is in breach of government obligations under the WHO FCTC (Article 5.3) and our
national Tobacco Control Law
3. All government agencies should seek guidance from the Ministry
responsible for Health as a lead agency on matters relating to tobacco and
any government relations with the Tobacco Industry.

CC Ministry of Foreign affairs
CC Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development
CC Parliament of Uganda
CC Ministry of Health