The Danger That Is Tobacco

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of death globally. It claims more lives than Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The commonest cancer in the world today is lung cancer. Tobacco use has been determined to cause 71 per cent of all lung cancer cases. There would be 21 per cent less cases of heart disease globally if people didn’t smoke.
As the world commemorates the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, it is an opportune moment to reflect on Uganda’s burgeoning NCDs epidemic, and to reflect on the role of tobacco use in this largely-preventable epidemic.
Although tobacco use is often construed as a public health issue, it is also about poverty and development. According to the latest Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS), tobacco use is more common among the two lowest income groups in Uganda and those with least education.
A study in Bangladesh by Debra Efroymson and others concluded: ‘’average male cigarette smokers spend more than twice as much on cigarettes as per capita expenditure on clothing, housing, health and education combined. The typical poor smoker could easily add over 500 calories to the diet of one or two children with his or her daily tobacco expenditure.’’
In 2010, Uganda had household expenditure of Shs 357bn spent on tobacco products, which was more than the government budget for health of Shs 310bn. Many smokers want to quit but are unable to due to nicotine-dependence – thanks to one of the ingredients wired into cigarettes.
But a lot can be done to reduce tobacco use’s contribution to the current NCDs epidemic in Uganda.  Probably, the most effective tobacco control measure is increasing taxes on tobacco products such as cigarettes. WHO has selected [raising] tobacco taxes as this year’s World No Tobacco Day theme.
In South Africa, a 10 per cent increase in taxes on tobacco was followed by eight per cent reduction in cigarette consumption. Low-income earners are the most sensitive to cigarette price increase. If a stick of cigarettes cost Shs 150 and you added Shs 50 in tax, at Shs 200 it would be more costly to smoke.
Young people are even two to three times more responsive and studies show that higher taxes and prices are most effective in preventing youth from moving beyond experimentation and into regular tobacco use.
Uganda has one of the lowest taxes on cigarettes in East Africa, and is way below the recommended tax rate it committed itself to when it signed the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in June 2007.
This article was originally written as an OpEd in The Observer newspaper. See full article here:

Tobacco Control At Rotaract Kyengera

The Tobacco Control Campaign through Mr. Daniel Kadobera of Ministry of Health, was hosted by the Rotaract Club of Kyengera on Monday 20th June, 2016. Mr. Kadobera who was also the guest speaker at the club’s fellowship disseminated the Tobacco Control Act to Rotaractors in an interactive session and stressed the importance of the law to especially the smokers.

Daniel Kadobera from Ministry of Health speaking at the Rotaract fellowship

Daniel spoke about the high number of smokers in the country’s Cancer Ward which must not be ignored in the fight for a Tobacco Free Uganda. “There’s more money spent on Cancer treatment than earned from tobacco sale and usage,” he said. He also noted that the children were at a higher risk from inhaling tobacco smoke and that it should be everybody’s responsibility to protect them.
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Tobacco Free Father's Day

Father’s day is here again. A time for the fathers to be celebrated and appreciated too. Often we wonder what the threshold for a good father is. Many will say; “A good father is a responsible father, ” but who really is a responsible father? What actions and choices portray responsibility in a man with a child?
It might be paying school fees, buying essentials for their wellbeing or even protecting their children’s health and avoiding habits that might put their children’s health at risk. Which is why fathers that have made a choice not to smoke for the love and protection of their children are indeed, responsible fathers.
A study shows that children that grow up in households where their parents smoke tobacco are highly exposed to respiratory diseases and other infections. These children are also likely to die at at a very young age considering their immunity is still too weak to fight these health dangers. Not to mention, should the partner of a pregnant woman expose them to second hand smoke, chances are high she will have an underweight child, possibly with deformities and even a premature birth.
Therefore it is a responsibility of fathers to protect their families from these health risks and fathers who have managed to do exactly that, are like it or not, good, responsible fathers who must be celebrated. Are you a father who smokes or just a young man who smokes but hopes to be a father one day? Think about this.
Happy Father’s Day!

Uganda Tobacco Control Act 2015 Comes Into Force; Bans Smoking In Public Places

The Uganda Tobacco Control Act 2015 has come into force today, six months after being   gazetted on 18th November 2015. The tobacco control bill was passed by Parliament on 28th July 2015, and was assented to by the President on 19th September 2015. The Act is a fulfillment of Uganda’s obligations to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( FCTC) which  the country signed on 5th March 2004 and ratified on 20th June 2007.
Announcing the commencement of the Act this morning, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng called upon the law enforcement agencies including the Police, Environment Protection Officers, Health Inspectors and Municipality Enforcement Officers among others, to swing into action by educating the public and businesses on the new law.  She highlighted the key provisions of the Act which include;

  1. Establishment of a Tobacco Control Committee chaired by Office of the Prime Minister with the Secretariat at the Ministry of Health.
  2. Prohibition of  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. Total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco manufacturers, distributors and sellers , including at points of sale
  5. Total ban of some tobacco products including Shisha (water-pipe tobacco), smokeless tobacco such as Kuber which is chewed and flavored tobacco products.
  6. Ban on production, sale and use of electronic cigarettes
  7. Bans supply and involvement of minors below 21years of age in processes of production, sale and use of tobacco products
  8. Ban on importation, manufacture and sale of tobacco products which do not conform to standards of the government of Uganda to be stipulated in the regulations
  9. Prohibiting unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry as a way of protecting public health policies from tobacco industry interference.

The Act will officially be launched on World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2016.
See below the full law.
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Francophone countries undertake training in Tobacco Industry Documents Research in Africa ( TIDRA)

Title: Francophone countries undertake training in Tobacco Industry Documents Research in Africa ( TIDRA)

A three day training  has been held Dhaka, Senegal, to equip tobacco control actors with techniques to effectively search, use and disseminate tobacco industry information to mitigate tobacco industry policy interference in the Africa.  The training on Tobacco Industry Documents Research in Africa ( TIDRA) was conducted by CTCA in partnership with Dr. Marty Otañez  of the University of Colorado Denver, from June 7-9, 2016. It was attended by  actors from three  Francophone countries of Mauritania, Gabon and Senegal the host. 

Source: Francophone countries undertake training in Tobacco Industry Documents Research in Africa ( TIDRA)

How The Tobacco Control Act Will Build This Nation

Many times you’ll be at your local shop waiting in a queue to buy airtime and a 9 year old kid will come running, halt right next to you and extend their hand to through the metallic bars before speaking confidently; bampeeyo sigala wa lukumi!

Now for many of us, it may not register how seriously dangerous it is that a child confidently walk to a shop to purchase a tobacco product that might potentially harm their health forever, but if you think about it long enough, you should ask yourself how many of children, most of whom are below 12 years are potential addicts. That right there is a problem.

The Uganda Tobacco Control Act joins several countries around the world to put a ban of sale of tobacco to any individual below the age of 21. Going forward, the choice to use tobacco will only be made by adults that are well informed of the consequences of their habits.

With this law in place, the numbers of Ugandans exposed to tobacco usage at an early age is reduced, we have more children concentrating on school and development of their talents and consequently, less people in their adulthood suffering cancer and respiratory diseases, a less strained health sector and more citizens healthy enough to contribute to the development and growth of Uganda.