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.
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.
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.
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;
Establishment of a Tobacco Control Committee chaired by Office of the Prime Minister with the Secretariat at the Ministry of Health.
Prohibition of smoking in all public places, workplaces, means of transport and other outdoor space within 50metres of a public place.
Display of notices stopping smoking in the public places with words in English, Kiswahili and local languages spoken in the region.
Total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco manufacturers, distributors and sellers , including at points of sale
Total ban of some tobacco products including Shisha (water-pipe tobacco), smokeless tobacco such as Kuber which is chewed and flavored tobacco products.
Ban on production, sale and use of electronic cigarettes
Bans supply and involvement of minors below 21years of age in processes of production, sale and use of tobacco products
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
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.