Thursday May 8 2014

Activists support tobacco control Bill


PARLIAMENT- Anti-tobacco activists and officials from the Uganda Cancer Institute have backed the Tobacco Control Bill, 2014, saying it will regulate and control the consumption of tobacco and protect generations from its devastating effects.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Health Committee yesterday to give their position on the Bill, the activists told legislators that tobacco is harmful and a risk factor to many diseases, especially non communicable diseases.

The committee is conducting public hearings and meeting various stakeholders to give their views on the Bill.

The head of the Centre for Tobacco Control, Dr Possy Mugenyi, while presenting urged MPs to unanimously support it to, among others, save the youth from smoking.
“Nearly all smokers start as children or young adults and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry,” he said.

Dr Mugyenyi also defended the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21, saying it was one of the strategies to prevent youth from smoking.

The legislation was drafted by Dr Chris Baryomunsi (NRM, Kinkizi East), which seeks among others, to protect the present and future generation from the devastating healthconsequences of tobacco use.

Ms Catherine Adok, a lawyer who represented civil society, said the Bill will protect the youthful population and non-smoking Ugandans from the aftereffects of smoking.
Clause 11 prohibits the smoking of Tobacco within 100 metres of a public place.
The Bill also proposes the ban of the sale of tobacco products within 500 metres of establishments with non-smokers.

However, the industry players insist that such restrictions would still amount to a ban on smoking and secondary smoke effects can be tamed with the right measures in place.
While Mr Jonathan D’souza, the managing director of British American Tobacco Uganda, was reportedly busy and asked to respond later, he told the Daily Monitor last week that: “Most outdoor places are open air spaces, and there is no risk of secondary smoke as alleged.”