Anti-tobacco Bill tabled in Parliament

Wednesday December 14 2011

By NELSON WESONGA

Parliament yesterday okayed the tabling of the Tobacco Control Bill, 2011, which seeks to control tobacco use and protect Ugandans from the detrimental effects of the plant.

The Private Members Bill, tabled by Chris Baryomunsi (Kinkiizi East), and seconded by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati, seeks to regulate the manufacturing, selling, advertising, distribution, promotion, and consumption of tobacco products in Uganda.

Mr Baryomunsi said smoking, not only affects the smokers, but also makes passive smokers vulnerable to lung cancer since it impairs the functioning of their lungs. “Smokers expose passive-smokers to a 25 per cent to 30 per cent greater risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Parliament has a duty to ensure all Ugandans live in healthy environs,” said Mr Baryomunsi.

Faulty past laws
He added that the Tobacco Control and Marketing Act of 1967 had not ensured Uganda met its obligations as provided in the 2002 Convention on Tobacco Control to protect the health of all individuals.
The Bill also seeks to reduce the exposure to tobacco smoke. It could also lead to the banning of tobacco advertising, tobacco tax and price legislation. Promotion of smoke-free public workplaces and placement of health messages on tobacco packaging could be reached at. However, the Bill could attract the ire of the 600,000 people employed by the tobacco industry, who might see this as a job-scaring venture.

The draft Bill now awaits publication to ready it for its first reading in the House. “We have had two Budgets since that date [2009]. That will not be appropriate because the Bill is not yet constituted properly. We will ask you to do it again,” said Mr Jacob Oulanyah, the deputy Speaker of Parliament, and also Omoro County MP.

nwesonga@ug.nationmwdia.com

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