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.

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.

What Are Our Children Buying From The Canteen?

During a recent scouting of the neighborhoods of Kamwokya suburb in Kampala, we went by the KCCA Primary School during the school lunch break that also seemed like a break off.  Directly opposite the school less than 10 meters from the school gate is a kiosk/shop from which pupils buy eats and drinks. On close observation, the front door of the shop is pinned with a large British American Tobacco poster. Inside, cigarettes are on clear display- and about 10 minutes later, a young boy about 10 years of age runs past us with cigarette sticks in his hand from the shop. Which clears any doubt in our minds about whether cigarettes are actually sold to children.
big tobacco tiny targets
The 2015 Uganda Tobacco Control Act prohibits the sale of tobacco to children under the age of 21 years and whereas one might argue that to identify who is 21 and above will be difficult, surely it s highly unlikely that there will be a 21 year old in Primary School. The law also places a complete ban on any kind on advertisement, that seen in poster form at the shop inclusive.
To implement this will undeniably be an uphill task and there’s so much work to do: but what are you doing about the exposure of tobacco and its dangers to yourself but most especially to your children? Think about it.