Tobacco Bill ready for House debate

Wednesday January 30 2013

State Minister Opendi signs on a painting denouncing tobacco use at the launch of the tobacco control campaign

State Minister Opendi signs on a painting denouncing tobacco use at the launch of the tobacco control campaign at the Chogm Gardens at Parliament in Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA 


The chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases has said the Tobacco Control Bill 2012 will be tabled in Parliament in two weeks.
Speaking at the launch of a tobacco control advocacy campaign in Kampala yesterday, Ms Benny Bugembe (Mubende, NRM), said the Bill would be submitted to the Ministry of Finance.

“We are going to submit it to the Ministry of Finance to get a certificate of financial implications. By the end of this week we shall have obtained it and since Parliament is going to reconvene on February 4, we shall table the Bill the following week,” she said.

The State Minister in Charge of Primary Health Care, Ms Sarah Achieng Opendi, said the Bill, which is expected to be passed into law by the end of 2013, is aimed at addressing a number of problems caused by the consumption of tobacco.

“We are going to look at the tax and price policies where taxes on tobacco products will be increased to affect the retail prices and make it hard for people to buy such products.
“The Bill is also going to amend the existing legislation on passive smoking....”

Ms Opendi said the Bill was a follow-up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control by the World Health Organisation (FCTC) to which Uganda is signatory.

“This treaty requires that countries put in place mechanisms to address the devastating health, socio-economic and environmental effects of tobacco on populations. So as a country, we need to implement this framework in order to meet our obligations.”

Uganda signed and ratified the WHO FCTC in 2005 and 2007, respectively, and was obliged to have a comprehensive Control Act by the end of 2012. However, it has not been vigilant about the need to control the usage of tobacco.

Projections show that by 2030 tobacco-related illnesses will be the leading cause of death in the world, majority of them in developing countries like Uganda.