Friday June 27 2014

Enact anti-tobacco law, activists say


KAMPALA- Health activists have asked Parliament to expedite the passing of the Tobacco Control Bill 2014 to save the public from exposure to secondhand smoke.

“The health cost of associated diseases resulting from second hand smoking is high, given that 30 minutes of being exposed to tobacco smoke exposes one to 70 different chemicals at ago. That is why we are advocating smoke free law to ensure that people are not exposed to the dangerous smoke,” Ms Catherine Adok, a civil society worker, said yesterday in an interview.
Ms Adok said the passing of the Bill would benefit the economy by eliminating healthcare costs.

She added: “Our policy makers need to protect workers and patrons in bars from the toxins in second hand smoke by confidently rejecting claims that there will be adverse economic impacts.”

Health risks
Dr Ronald Tusiime, a public health specialist, said smoking has been scientifically proven to be associated with the causation of many non-communicable diseases such as lung cancer, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, impotence and asthma.

According to Dr Tusiime, among the leading causes of death in Uganda, stroke stands at number two after HIV/Aids while coronary heart disease is fourth, with diabetes mellitus and lung disease come sixth and tenth respectively.

“… smoking is learnt during childhood or young adulthood and this is the age that individuals are vulnerable to peer pressure and misleading media messages or adverts. This bill has come timely to control this,” he said,

The Bill, which was drafted by Dr Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkizi East), seeks among others, to protect the public against the devastating health consequences of tobacco use.

The proposed law seeks to control and or limit exposure of women and children to tobacco and smoking, a move health experts say will go a long way in averting the big number of the various illnesses and death.