Saturday March 22 2014

Tobacco Bill should cater for addicts

By George Stephen Mukasa

Kinkizi East MP Chris Baryomunsi supported by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati recently tabled the Tobacco Control Bill which aims at regulating the tobacco industry including regulating its consumption. It is a good Bill especially on health grounds.

My concern, however, is that like some other Bills passed, I have a fear that it may also be insensitive to those people who are already addicted to tobacco by failing to put in place ways of assisting them out of the habit.

Legislators ought to acknowledge the fact that as they contemplate passing the Bill, there already exists a sizeable number of people who are smokers and are deeply addicted.

Therefore, other than spelling out stiff penalties to smokers, care should be taken to help the victims out of this problem. Addiction is an affliction which at times come when its commission is beyond one’s control.

Therefore, as discussions go on to put in place a law, efforts should simultaneously be made to establish rehabilitation centres or clinics to help those already addicted.
George Stephen Mukasa,
Human Rights Concern (HURICO)