#TBT: A Research Fellow's Plea To Speaker To Pass Tobacco Control Bill

Although tobacco control has largely been constructed as a public health matter, research we conducted in Uganda last year shows that tobacco use is also solidly a poverty issue. Ugandans in the two lowest income groups have higher tobacco use rates than those in higher income groups even when they can afford it the least.
We analysed two combined Uganda household expenditure data sets of 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 and asked a basic question. How much do poor households in Uganda spend on tobacco per week and what could this money potentially buy the household? We then looked at the prices of commodities in the Uganda Consumer Price Index of June 2010 and the potential purchases of selected alternative items with regard to food, health and education.
We found that money Ugandan households spent on tobacco every week could have bought eight litres of fresh milk or two loaves of bread. Studies done in Bangladesh show that households which spend on tobacco suffer more malnutrition than those which don’t. In the case of Uganda, we found that households’ weekly expenditure on tobacco was equivalent to the price of three and a half kilogrammes of maize flour during the same period.
The results also showed that money spent by a parent on tobacco could buy their children a set of primary school exercise books or 21 ball-point pens.
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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.

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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.
[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″]

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.

World No Tobacco Day 2016-WHO urges countries to prepare for Plain Packaging 

Title: World No Tobacco Day 2016-WHO urges countries to prepare for Plain Packaging 

On May 31, tobacco control advocates all over the world will join efforts to commemorate World No Tobacco Day. The Theme for this year’s campaign is ‘ Get ready for Plain Packaging’, otherwise known as ‘standardized packaging.’ http://www.who.int/campaigns/no-tobacco-day/2016/brochure/en/

According to WHO, Plain packaging refers to “measures to restrict or prohibit the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names displayed in a standard colour and font style. 

Plain packaging is an important demand reduction measure that reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products, restricts use of tobacco packaging as a form of tobacco advertising and promotion, limits misleading packaging and labelling, and increases the effectiveness of health warnings. It builds upon  other measures as part of a comprehensive multisectoral approach to tobacco control. Policy-makers, civil society and the public can take action to ensure that their governments consider adoption of plain packaging.

Some of the key attributes of plain packaging include: Reducing attractiveness of tobacco products; Eliminating tobacco advertising and promotion; Limiting deceptive tobacco packaging and Increasing effectiveness of tobacco health warnings.

Examples of Plain packaging based on Australia’s model

 

 


Source: World No Tobacco Day 2016-WHO urges countries to prepare for Plain Packaging 

ACBF Executive Secretary Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie emphasizes the need for capacity development for tobacco control leadership

 
The  Executive Secretary ( ES) of The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Zimbabwe, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie this morning paid a courtesy call to the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa ( CTCA)  at Centre’s premises in Kasangati, near Kampala. The ES was received by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, who is also the chairperson of the CTCA Steering Committee.
In his welcome remarks, Prof. Nawangwe thanked ACBF for the support rendered to the Centre. He reiterated Makerere University’s commitment to ensuring that the Centre benefits the whole of Africa by supporting governments to implement evidence based tobacco control strategies.
Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie stressed the need for strengthening capacity development for tobacco control leadership as a strategy to generate the much required political will to move the tobacco control agenda.  He said tobacco use is a growing challenge affecting many Africans and yet still has a lot of capacity gaps that required concerted efforts to address.
The Acting Centre Manager, Ms. Jennifer Kalule highlighted some of the achievements that the Centre has attained during the phase II implementation that is supported through ACBF.
Source: ACBF Executive Secretary Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie emphasizes the need for capacity development for tobacco control leadership
 

CTCA urges capacity development stakeholders to invest in tobacco control capacity to curb the tobacco epidemic

 
Stakeholders attending the 3rd Pan-African Capacity Development Forum ( ACDF) in Harare, Zimbabwe have been cautioned to invest in capacity for tobacco control as one of the priorities for the social economic transformation for Africa.
This was during aside event organized by the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa  ( CTCA), May 4th, during the 3rd ACDF that also marked ACBF’s silver anniversary.  The session was moderated by Dr. Roger Atindehou, the Manager Operations at the ACBF.
Presenting a paper on ‘Investing in Tobacco Control capacity for Africa, the Centre Director also Dean of the School of Public Health, Prof. William Bazeyo warned that  Africa is poised to become the future epi-centre of the tobacco epidemic if nothing is done to invest tobacco control capacity.  He stressed that with the high burden of communicable diseases that Africa is faced with, lack of control of the non-communicable diseases, to which tobacco is a key risk factor, would water down the efforts in the communicable diseases and lead to a double tragedy.
Prof. Bazeyo revealed that although Africa is at the early stages of the tobacco epidemic,
researchers estimate that if African countries put appropriate policies in place, the region could avoid 139 million premature deaths by 2100. This he emphasised, can best be achieved through investing in tobacco control capacity.
Mr. Deowan Mohee from ATCA who was one of the panelists said one of the biggest capacity gaps for tobacco control in Africa is the dependency of donor funding which he said may not always respond to the real needs of the African continent. He urged partners to invest in building capacity for resource mobilization for tobacco control  as a strategy for attaining a tobacco free Africa.
Ms. Ema Wanyonyi from Kenya’s International Legislative Association ( ILA) emphasized the need for mainstreaming tobacco control in other public health programs adding that tobacco being a cross cutting factor needs concerted efforts to minimize its effects.
The stakeholders who attended the side event in big numbers stressed the need to control the activities of the tobacco industry and to empower governments to implement both demand and supply reduction interventions identified by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).   Participants specifically cited the need for countries to build capacity to control illicit trade of tobacco products as well as capacity to support countries develop and implement alternative livelihood policies for tobacco farmers. Tobacco taxation was also discussed a key measure that countries need to adopt it not only reduces consumption, but also enables governments to get the much needed money to treat tobacco related illnesses and diseases.
Source: CTCA urges capacity development stakeholders to invest in tobacco control capacity to curb the tobacco epidemic
 

National Tobacco Control Focal Persons hailed for their commitment to tobacco control

Title: National Tobacco Control Focal Persons hailed for their commitment to tobacco control

December 10, 2015-

The Dean School of Public Health and CTCA Director, Prof William Bazeyo has called on Tobacco Control Focal Persons in CTCA’s target countries to be more vigilant in guarding public health policies against Tobacco Industry Interference. The Dean was this morning officiating at the opening of a two day planning retreat for National Tobacco Control Focal Persons of CTCA’s target countries for Phase II. The meeting held at the Lake Victoria Serena Hotel in Kigo is attended by National Tobacco Control Focal Person from four of the five CTCA target countries including Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, and Niger. 


Source: National Tobacco Control Focal Persons hailed for their commitment to tobacco control