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″]