Tobacco Control Act: See Who’s Demanding Implementation?

Tobacco Control Act: See Who’s Demanding Implementation?

The Uganda Tobacco Control Act came into force on 19th May, 2016. Since then, there has been mass sensitization in billboards, radio shows, newspaper articles and social media campaigns. Implementation of this law however requires the Ministry of Health to write regulations upon which enforcement is to be based. Tobacco Control Ug

In the meantime, many bars in Kampala and its surburbs continue to sell “Shisha,” a popular among young people, water pipe tobacco whose sell, distribution and therefore consumption are completely banned in the Tobacco Control Act.
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Godfrey Kutesa has the past week taken matters into his hands, so to say. This young man and several of his friends took to the streets and city roundabouts holding placards of messages about tobacco use; also on placards were messages demanding that the law be implemented to save lives. They have gone ahead to visit some schools to speak about the dangers of tobacco. At City High School’s assembly yesterday, they encouraged students to be responsible for their own lives and stay away from cigarettes and shisha which have negative health implications like lung cancer on users.  Tobacco Control UG

Mayor Pledges Support for Tobacco Control Campaign

Mayor Pledges Support for Tobacco Control Campaign

On Tuesday, 4th October 2016, tobacco control stakeholders met for an orientation meeting with major enforcers including the Uganda Police, Uganda Revenue Authority and city authorities.

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Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi delivering presentation on tobacco dangers

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Enforcement was the major discussion point of this meeting. The Director of Public Health, Kampala City Council Authority was tasked to initiate enforcement as an authority who had available resources for the task. A representative of hotel owners who was also present agreed to do their part in enforcement starting with putting up smoke free signs.

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Mayor of Kampala City delivered insightful remarks, there was a unanimous agreement to focus on enforcement. The Mayor who noted the laxity in taking the right to a smoke free environment seriously pledged his full support to the health cause.

Tobacco Control Radio Messages

Tobacco Control Radio Messages

More important to us than anything is that you not only hear about the Tobacco Control Act, but also understand it from us and not the law enforcers when enforcement begins. So in a bid to achieve this, we’ve gone ahead to break it down for the public in all forms. Several workshops, public dialogues and most recently, radio ads and bill boards.

So in the next few days while you listen to your radio or walk/drive around in your neighborhood, you’ll hear and read vital information about the law. From the complete ban on hookah/shisha, to the 50 meter requirement for every smoker, you’ll know about it all.

Interestingly for the radio listeners, you can also win airtime from us! All you have to do is to listen to the radio stations in your region during the day and relay to us the message you hear about us. You can tell us on either our Facebook page( TobaccoControlUg) or on twitter, ( @TobaccoCtrlUg). Happy winning!

Death By Not Smoking

Death By Not Smoking

A recent Ministry Of Health survey shows that 13,000 Ugandans die of tobacco related diseases every year- but here’s is what is even more shocking, the same survey shows that half of these people are non-smokers. (do not use tobacco) Yes, about 600 Ugandans who do not use tobacco die of tobacco related diseases.

While that sinks in, you might want to remember the Clause 12 of the Tobacco Control Act specifies that “A person shall not smoke within 50 meters of any public place…” Many smokers have expressed their dissatisfaction with clause and found it, “harsh,” but is it really harsh when it aims at protecting another life? Or is it we’re used to our freedom to violate other people’s rights as long as we’re doing what we want?

Take for example, when a smoker travels by plane to another country, they are restricted from smoking on the plane. It could be for 4, 6 or even 12 hours, in which time they abide by the restriction. Why then, would it be in this case considered harsh to just smoke at a safe distance away from other people? The law is not harsh, it does not take away the right of the smoker: it only requires that the health of others be respected and preserved.

We can all exercise our rights while respecting others’ rights too.

 

What Are Our Children Buying From The Canteen?

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.

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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.

#WorldBreastfeedingMonth: Why Tobacco Is Bad News For Breastfeeding Mothers

#WorldBreastfeedingMonth: Why Tobacco Is Bad News For Breastfeeding Mothers

Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco may reduce your milk production and inhibit the let-down reflex. It also may make your baby fussy or irritable. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for many problems, including ear infections, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You should not smoke or be around those who do while you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Illegal drugs can be passed to a baby in some amount through the breast milk. Drug use can cause poor milk let-down in the mother and a lack of energy, intoxication, hyperactivity, addiction, or other health problems in the infant. Drugs can also get in the way of a mom’s ability to care for her child.

Bribes and the Tobacco Control Act, 2015

Bribes and the Tobacco Control Act, 2015

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary: Panorama; The secret bribes of big tobacco broadcast on the 30thNovember 2015.  Panorama found that British American Tobacco (BAT) illegally paid politicians and civil servants in countries in East Africa. Uganda has a very strict law on control of Tobacco smoking and exposure.

The Uganda media prints: New Vision, 2nd December 2015 in an article by Chris Kiwawulo: MP denies receiving sh102M bribe; The Daily Monitor by Nelson Wesonga: MP named in Shs 67 M BAT bribery Scandal. The MP of Bugangaizi west Hon. Kasirivu Atwooki is alleged among officials who received bribes from BAT in a bid to block tough anti-Smoking laws to which he has filed a total denial. It must be recalled that Tobacco Control Act (TCA) was assented to on the 19th of September 2015 by the president and is awaiting publication in the Uganda gazette. The Uganda tobacco Control Movement welcomes such reports and calls on more to be exposed, while awaiting the alleged to show cause as to why they should not be suspect.

Let me make reference to sections of the TCA prohibiting Civil servants, policy and law makers from hobnobbing with the tobacco industry. We must be reminded that Article 79 clause (1) of the Constitution exclusively charges parliamentarians with the responsibility of making laws thence making Tobacco Industry interference a resultant force to reckon with.

Section 20 subsection (1) of the TCA stipulates ‘ a person, body or entity that contributes to or may contribute to the formulation, implementation, administration, enforcement or monitoring of the public health policies or tobacco control shall not interact with the tobacco industry except where It is strictly necessary for the effective regulation of the tobacco industry or a product.’ With subsection (2) insists that the accepted interactions must be transparent.

Section 21 and attendant paragraphs prohibit partnerships and endorsements from the Tobacco industry to civil servants, policy and law makers directly or incidental to the formulation, monitoring or enforcement of the TCA.

Sections 22 and 23 prohibit soliciting or receiving or and accepting voluntary contributions of people and persons involved in activities or those incidental to the TCA.

Penalties for contravention of sections 21, 22, 23 on conviction provided in section 24 among others include: cancellation of partnership, endorsement, MOU; forfeiture of contribution and revocation of the incentive, benefit, privilege or tax exemption. It is vital to note that section 44 on General penalty avers that “ Any person who commits an offence under this Act for which no penalty is provided shall be liable to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points  or imprisonment for 1 term not exceeding 6 months.

The allegations and more yet to surface are machinations the Tobacco Industry uses to compromise Tobacco control and regulations by targeting like officials. It was due to this that Tobacco control activists with the mover of the law vehemently argued for these punitive sections. For more I enjoin you peruse the law. The Law is alert to the resourcefulness whistle-blowers are, they too are protected in section 41 (3) in conformity with the whistle blower protection Act, 2010.

TCA is a tobacco Industry inconvenience; it is incumbent on us to evoke our civic duty espoused in Article 19 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda as amended to make this Public health tool work. This operationalises Article 39 of the Constitution that enjoins us to the right to a clean and health Environment.  We must be steadfast in holding the Tobacco Industry accountable by leaving it no chance to abuse Tobacco Control efforts embedded in our legislation.

Let us continue to de-normalise the deceptive schemes of the Tobacco Industry disguised in gifts, dust bins looking in the shape of cigarettes, promotions only intended to reach out to new clientele especially the none suspecting under 21 year olds.

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

#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.

Read Full Article Here:

The Danger That Is Tobacco

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

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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