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 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

Why a higher tax on cigarettes bears more gains than protecting local cigarette manufacturers?

In 2017 parliament of Uganda amended the excise duty Act no. 11 of 2014. The Excise duty (Amendment) no. 11 of 2017 in section 2 imposes different excise rates on locally and foreign made cigarettes (soft cap and Hinge lid).
This amendment is a matter of contention in the East African Court of Justice that slapped an injunction on Uganda (Revenue Authority) on the 25th of January 2018 to stop forthwith collecting billed excise duty on British American Tobacco (U) LTD that shifted operations to Kenya.
While at Hotel Piato on the 7th of February 2018 in a CSO and members of School management committees of Schools in Kampala organised by the Uganda national Health Consumers Organisation, Hon. Isaac Mulindwa Soozi, the Lugazi Municipality Member of parliament and member of the finance committee of parliament, said that they (MPs) imposed higher excise duties on Foreign manufacturers to protect the local cigarette manufacturers.
Hon. Andrew Kaluya member of parliamentfor Kigulu County South,Iganga District, disagreed with the notion of protecting any cigarette manufactures because they both manufacture products that need strong controls among which banning the products from Uganda and availing alternative crops to farmers makes the most feasible argument. I with great pleasure acknowledge that Uganda removed Tobacco from its priority of Crops.
It must be recalled that section 23 (a) of the Tobacco Control Act no.22 of 2015, prohibits persons that contribute to or may contribute to the formulation….of public health policies on tobacco control from providing any incentive, benefits or privileges or preferential tax exemptions to the tobacco industry.
Incidentally, Tobacco manufacturers agree that tobacco use affects the lungs, causes heart diseases and kill its consumers as prescribed on their packs. A National NCD risk factor survey conducted in 2014 shows that one in every four adults in Uganda suffers from a Non-Communicable Disease.
And yet the Centre for Tobacco Control Africa (CTCA) in 2017 found that, the total health cost of tobacco use including the direct cost of treatment and the indirect costs of loss of income and productivity from death and disability in Uganda is UGX 328.82 billion, which is equivalent to US$126.48 million.
Expensive cigarettes translate to health gains
When taxes raise cigarettes prices, the poor get more health benefits than the rich. The relationship between price and income is very important. When prices increase faster than salaries, people must earn more to afford their cigarettes, which decreases cigarette consumption and increases the rate of quitting.
WHO calculates that if all countries increase taxes on cigarette packs by 50% there would be 49 million fewer smokers and this would avert 11 million deaths from smoking based on unpublished WHO simulations using the 2012 data).
The benefits of cessation are many and occur for a number of serious diseases soon after quitting. Only one year after quitting smoking, the risk of coronary heart diseases is about half that of a smoker. The stroke risk is reduced to that of non- smokers 5 to 15 years after quitting. After10 years of cessation, the risk of lung cancer fails to about half that of a smoker, and there is a decreased risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas according to WHO.
France, for example, increased its taxes substantially and regularly between the early 1990s and 2005, tripling its inflation-adjusted cigarette prices. This was followed by a reduction in sales by more than 50%. The health impact of this dramatic reduction in consumption was seen just a few years later with a reduction in lung cancer death rates for young men. Death rates went down by 50% during the same period. After a period of unchanged tax rates between 2005 and 2009, France has started to regularly increase tobacco taxes since 2010.
 
Raising taxes on tobacco improves economies for Government
In addition to reducing tobacco use and the associated health burden, tax increases generate substantial additional revenues to governments. Tax increases are a win-win situation because they are good for both public health and government revenues. Government revenues raised in this way can be used for health and other public benefit.
In Egypt, the government substantially increased the tobacco tax in 2010. The tax per pack for the most popular brand of cigarettes increased by 46% from 2.95 Egyptian pounds (EGP) to 4.32 EGP. This reduced sales by 14% in only two years. The impact on revenues was colossal, increasing by 151%, from 7 billion EGP to 17.6 EGP between 2010 and 2012.
Simple tax systems are
A number of countries around the world impose complex systems of tobacco excise, which are difficult to administer and subject to loopholes. The tobacco industry takes advantage of these loopholes to avoid paying the full amount of taxes. The resulting loss of revenues for the government and the difficulty to translate into price increases and reduced affordability for consumers makes these taxes and tax increases ineffective.
This reduced the tax tiers from four to two in 2013 and will bring them down to a single uniform rate in 2017. The reform also removed tax obligations which favoured one company over another. In addition, a provision was introduced to have automatic annual increases in the tax until 2017, with more rapid tax increases on lower priced brands.
Since implementing the reform in 2013, the Government reports that tobacco prices have gone up, sales have gone down and revenues have increased substantially.
In the African region, Gambia changed the base for its excise on cigarettes from weight to volume in 2012. Evidence shows that basing taxes on weight of tobacco encourages the industry to produce lighter but not less harmful cigarettes to pay less taxes.
In 2013, Gambia also raised the excise on all tobacco products to the same rate. This has the benefit of discouraging consumers from switching to a cheaper product when taxes are increased. Governments around the world tend to impose higher taxes on cigarettes than on other tobacco products, leading to price differences and encouraging substitution from higher priced products (usually cigarettes) to cheaper tobacco products such as water pipe tobacco or roll-your-own cigarettes. Taxing all products similarly leads to a harmonization of prices and reduces incentives for substitution.
Cheap cigarettes obtaining on the Ugandan market are a result of our weak tax law that makes tax administration difficult and thus making the routine tax imposing every financial year a nuisance to quitting and generating revenue so as to case a health dividend to cut health expenditure relations with tobacco caused diseases.
Talibita Moses, Is a tobacco control Activist working with Uganda National Health Consumers Organisation
mtalibita@unhco.or.ug

KCCA and Uganda Police Inspect Businesses in Kampala for compliance to The Tobacco Control Law

Tobacco Control advocate agency Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO) conducted spot on health inspections, audits and sensitization exercises of businesses and business areas in the Kampala divisions of Nakawa, Rubaga, Kawempe, Makindye and Central area to support enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act for compliance.
The Tobacco Control Act (2015) is a public health act that amply empowers all citizens of Uganda to enforce its declaration, including the total ban on shisha and the 50-metre rule. It has been completely enforceable since May 2017.
The Tobacco Control Act (2015) Section 16 places a TOTAL BAN on the importation, sell, offer for sale, or distribute of; Shisha (which is a flavoured water-pipe tobacco product) and/or shisha pots (which is a water-pipe delivery system). The penalty is a severe fine of not less than 20,000,000 UGX.
UNHCO worked with a team of government and civil society agencies including, Ministry of Health, Uganda Police Force (i.e.; CPS/Anti-Narcotics Department), Kampala City Council Authority, Ministry of Local Government, National Environment Management Authority and Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
During the inspection in the communities, traders were eager to listen closely to health and police inspectors, as they shared the details of the Tobacco Control Act.
And a way to ensure enforcement, there was a trader who was found illegally selling banned shisha products, who attempted to argue with the health and police inspectors claiming that he had legal paperwork permitting him to sell the illegal products.  On delivery of the papers, the agents from URA during the inspections proved that the forms provided were in contempt of the law. All business owners should know that SHISHA IS A BANNED TOBACCO PRODUCT.
It should be known by all business owners that SHISHA IS A BANNED TOBACCO PRODUCT in Uganda.

'We are scared we will die soon', Tobacco Workers.

Folarin Jakanola died from a sickness he developed from the working environment he was exposed to while working with British-American Tobacco, Nigeria. “We were exposed to the same environment and we are going through serious health problems. We are scared we will die soon.”
“We were exposed to the same environment and we are going through serious health problems. We are scared we will die soon.”
Listen in to the below podcast for more information.

CTFK Statement: U.S. Authorities Urged to Investigate British American Tobacco for Allegations of Widespread Bribery and Corruption in Africa

Following new allegations about the conduct of British American Tobacco (BAT) in Africa –published today by The Guardian – the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) urged the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate BAT and its subsidiaries for possible violations of the anti-bribery and accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Tobacco-Free Kids requested the investigation in a letter to the two government agencies.
British American Tobacco has faced mounting allegations that the company engaged in widespread bribery and corruption in Africa to gain an advantage over competitors and stifle government efforts to curb smoking.
Earlier this month, the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO) formally launched an investigation of BAT on suspicions of corruption. An investigative report published today by The Guardian revealed new allegations that, for years, BAT secretly and possibly illegally moved millions of U.S. dollars in cash across international borders into the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) allegedly to support the company’s tobacco leaf operations in that country.
The new allegations indicate BAT’s operations included engaging with armed rebels involved in the long-standing DRC conflict in order to make secret cash drops used to pay for tobacco leaf from farmers in Auzi, an unmapped town BAT built in the 1950’s, according to The Guardian.
In addition to possible violations of the FCPA, The Guardian report raises questions about whether BAT’s conduct in moving U.S. dollars during the DRC conflict also violates federal anti-money laundering laws, especially as the U.S. has had sanctions in place against the DRC since 2006. The story also exposes BAT’s role in flooding South Sudan with its cheapest cigarette brands following years of war and operating around terrorist networks in Somalia to continue selling cigarettes in the country.
The growing allegations about BAT’s conduct are particularly alarming following the July 2017 merger of BAT and Reynolds American in the United States. The recent merger places BAT in a leading position in the U.S. market and, according to BAT, created the largest tobacco company in the world by operating profits.
“Given British American Tobacco’s decades-long history of calculated deception in the United States and abroad and its re-entry into the U.S. market, the mounting allegations of corruption and mass concealment of funds by BAT must be fully investigated by U.S. regulators for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and any other applicable criminal or civil laws,” said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “This is a company that has proven it cannot and will not play by the rules. Unless and until they are held accountable by governments, shareholders, business partners and the public, the company’s wrongdoing will only continue.”
Alleged corruption within BAT was first publicly exposed in November 2015 when the BBC, and later other news outlets, revealed allegations that the company was engaging in bribery and other corrupt acts that included bribing Ministry of Health officials in Burundi, Comoros and Rwanda, a former Kenyan Minister of Justice and a Member of Parliament from Uganda.
Tobacco use kills more than seven million people worldwide each year. Without urgent action by governments to pass proven tobacco control laws and curb the power and influence of tobacco companies, tobacco use will kill one billion people this century.

Multi-million pounds backing for scientists to tackle tobacco-related harm in Asia and Africa

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A team of researchers, led by the University of Stirling, has been awarded £3.4 million from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Research Councils UK Collective Fund to reduce tobacco-related harm in low and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa.

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Source: Multi-million pounds backing for scientists to tackle tobacco-related harm in Asia and Africa

Tobacco Control Regional Media Training

The Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) is a professional organisation that brings together journalists and other communication professionals from non-government organisations, government and academia.
UHCA is also a Tobacco Control Advocate organisation that uses its influence with the media to promote, inform and guide journalists on how to broadcast and report about the Tobacco Control activities in Uganda.
This week, UHCA is travelling the country talking to media practitioners about the need to report about the implement the Tobacco Control Law.  Below in images are the session;

The above images are during the media training in Western Uganda on the Tobacco Control Act, dangers of tobacco use, Tobacco Industry tactics and emphasizing compliance.  In this region UHCA covered districts of Fortportal, Kibito, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa and Kasese.
The picture below also from South western Uganda in the districts of Bushenyi, Ntungamo, and Mbarara, also  had the same focus as the one above.

We will be sharing more about these regional Tobacco Control media training in our next update.

Capacity Building for Tobacco Cessation to Improve Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes in Uganda

Title: Capacity Building for Tobacco Cessation to Improve Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes in Uganda

A competent needs-based health workforce, aligned to local priorities is essential to addressing the increasing Non-Communicable Diseases in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as Uganda. Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), pioneer a training for health professionals on integrating tobacco cessation services into TB services in Kampala, Uganda. The training is premised on a research Project on Integrating Tobacco cessation into TB Programs using mHealth Solutions funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).


Source: Capacity Building for Tobacco Cessation to Improve Tuberculosis Treatment Outcomes in Uganda