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.

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.”]

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″]

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.

Why the adult age under tobacco control is 21 years

By Elsa Zawedde
Back Ground
The Tobacco Control ACT defines a child as a person under the age of 21 years. The significance of this definition is that any person deemed a child is prohibited from growing, selling, harvesting and manufacturing or being involved in the chain of growth and the consumption of tobacco related products. This difference from the standard set by the Constitution and other laws is the basis of the article.
Standard definition of a child in the law
The standard in Uganda’s legislation seems to be uniform as the majority of the laws ascribe to a child being one below the age of 18. The standard is set by Article 257(c) of the 1995 Constitution Uganda that defines a child as a person below the age of 18 years.  The Children’s Act Cap 59, The Contracts Act 2010 and the Employment Act under their Sections 2 respectively take the position that a child is one below the age of 18 years. Considering the established standard in the Constitution, as the Supreme Law of Uganda all other laws should be brought in conformity with the Constitution as stated in Article 2 of the Constitution. This means that the Tobacco control Act would ordinarily ascribe to the definition of a child as one below the age of 18 years. Therefore, as far as the Ugandan legislations are concerned they seem to saliently recognize a child as one below the age of 18 years not withstanding minor adjustments made when it comes to child being employed under Article 34(3) of the Constitution provides for Children being one below the age of 16.
It would be inept to look at the child and tobacco without having the benefit of the International standard of the definition of a child. The Convention on the Rights of the Child  (here in after referred to as CRC) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990 and it defines a child under Article 1 as person who is below the age of 18 years.
Protection accorded to children in other laws
As practice has been in Uganda’s previous legislation “children” have been prohibited from engaging in the consumption of particularly harmful products to health. Pursuant to Sections 19(1) and Section 9 of The Liquor Act Cap 93, they restrict the participation of a person below the age of 18 years in engaging himself in distribution, supervision, selling and buying of intoxicating liquor, beer and Enguuli as stated there in.
The standard Parliament and the Legislators follow when deciding matters that have a bearing on children is the best interests of the Child. At the national level Article 34(1) of the Constitution and Section 3 of the Children’s Act Cap 59 articulates this clearly by stating that the guiding principles for decisions concerning the welfare of children are that the best interests of the child shall be considered in matters of policy.
Like the principles stated in the Constitution and Children’s Act, Article 3 of the CRC, makes providence of the best interests of the child as the basis for which institutions, authorities and legislative authorities will premise as they handle matters concerning the child. Article 4 of the CRC provides that states shall apply administrative and legislative measures to protect the child’s interests. It is under this premise that the Tobacco control Act is subject to the standard of the best interests of the child.
Justification for the Protection in the Tobacco Control Act
Before scrutinizing whether the minimum age of 21 is justifiable for consumption of Tobacco related products. It is important to note that because of the enormous potential harm of tobacco to children from its use and mere exposure, states have to undertake, a duty to take all necessary legislative and regulatory measures to protect the interests of the child. In a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001 by Safir Syed ;
Around 4 million people die prematurely from tobacco related illnesses each year, with the death toll expected to rise each year to 10 million people by 2030. Many of tobacco’s future victims are today’s children because it begins during adolescence and continues through adulthood… If current trends continue, 250 million children alive today will be killed by tobacco… Estimates are made that 700 million, or almost a half of the world children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke.
If the statistics by WHO are anything to go by Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous drug that should not be treated as a normal consumer good. This justifies the stringent measures on age than the other existing law.
Considering the fact that Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous drug that should not be treated as a normal consumer good, the requirements under the Constitution, Children’s Act and the Convention on The Right of the Child the premise that the best interests of the child should be the corner stone of any decision is upheld in the Tobacco Control Act.
Michael Bloomberg the Mayor of New York who has led the campaign to prohibit the use of tobacco related products in New York, stated  “21 is the right age limit by which one can take cigarettes because this would discourage people from being addicted In the first place since the earlier the people smoke, the more prone they are to get addicted.”(As reported by the New York Times, 30/09/2014)
A Child being described as a person below the age of 21 years for the purposes of the Tobacco Control Act is therefore reasonable and demonstrably justifiable. Unlike other commodities like Intoxicating liquor, tobacco’s addictive nature as a substance is dangerous to the young people, and the less exposure guaranteed by legislation in prohibiting the engagement in any tobacco related activities to persons below the age of 21 is a reasonable caution that will leaves our country more healthier with a more promising future.
One cannot over emphasize the need for conformity with the Constitution, however meticulous attention ought to be given to the unique nature of tobacco as a harmful substance. Therefore in acutely striking a balance between the health threat that tobacco is to our Country and the standard of who a child is in Article 257(c) of the Constitution: I appreciate the drafters of the Tobacco Control Act for the unique protection accorded to children through defining a child as a person below the age of 21 years for the purposes of Tobacco consumption and the Tobacco Control Act.

Kenya’s Court of Appeal Rejects British American Tobacco Suit, Upholds Tobacco Control Regulations

Press Release by: Campaign For Tobacco Control Kids                                                                           February 17th, 2017
Kenya’s Court of Appeal in Nairobi today upheld the country’s 2014 Tobacco Control Regulations, affirming a lower court’s findings and rejecting legal challenges to the regulations from British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya. The court’s decision is a resounding victory for public health and allows the government to move forward with implementing a law that will help protect Kenyans from the devastating consequences of tobacco use. As a party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Kenya is legally obligated to implement evidence-based measures to reduce tobacco use.
Included in Kenya’s Tobacco Control Regulations are requirements for picture-based health warnings and strengthened protections against secondhand smoke. The regulations also require tobacco companies to pay an annual fee into a designated tobacco control fund to assist the government in paying for the harmful health effects of tobacco use for Kenyans.
Today’s ruling sends a strong message that BAT’s legal claims were without merit and that tobacco industry interference in laws to improve public health will not be tolerated. The ruling also has implications for other African countries where tobacco companies are interfering in efforts to pass and implement proven tobacco control policies. In Uganda, for example, BAT has also filed a legal challenge against a tobacco control law aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use.
Kenya’s Court of Appeal ruling is yet another blow for BAT, a company currently under investigation in Kenya for the alleged bribery of government officials. A 2015 investigative report broadcast by the BBC disclosed extensive evidence, supported by previously secret documents, that BAT paid illegal bribes to influence members of parliament, gain advantage over competitors and undermine tobacco control policies in multiple African countries.
We congratulate the Government of Kenya for its resolve in standing up to Big Tobacco. Today’s decision sends an unequivocal message that African governments can and should move ahead with efforts to reduce tobacco use even in the face of legal challenges from tobacco companies. Around the world, the largest multinational tobacco companies are increasingly losing legal battles to block and delay tobacco control measures.
Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death. Without urgent action, tobacco use will claim one billion lives this century.
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