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.
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.