Parliament- Debate on the Tobacco Control Bill commenced in Parliament yesterday with some MPs proposing a total ban on consumption of tobacco products in the country.
The Bill tabled last week seeks to control tobacco use and protect Ugandans from its adverse health and environmental effects, including associated deaths.
The law makers on the Parliamentary Health Committee that is charged with scrutinising the Bill in a meeting with anti-tobacco activists, chaired by Dr Kenneth Omona, said imposing a ban on tobacco would fulfill citizens’ constitutional right to life, a healthy and clean environment.
“We need to advocate for a tobacco free Uganda and we can only do this if we impose a total ban on consuming tobacco in the country because of its health hazards,” said MP Beatrice Rusaniya (Kiruhura, NRM).
She was backed by colleague Ms Rhona Rita Ninsiima (Kabale women) who queried why government was dithering to educate Ugandans on the dangers of smoking and the benefits of banning tobacco.
Tobacco dealers and growers would be the biggest losers if the proposal were adopted by the House and passed.
Tobacco companies are however suspicious that most of the provisions in the Bill will hurt the industry than help it provide more jobs and revenue in a more responsible way.