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To improve health and save lives for generations – Uganda passes comprehensive TC law

By Manjari Peiris

The government of Uganda by enacting a comprehensive tobacco control law has conveyed a strong message. The message convinces that public health should and will prevail over tobacco industry profits and intimidation.

It is now critical that the government effectively implement and enforce the law. Uganda’s law sets a powerful example for Africa, which has traditionally lower rates of tobacco use and has been targeted by the tobacco industry as a major growth market.

A key provision of the law requires 100 percent smoke-free indoor public places, workplaces and public transport and also prohibits smoking within 50 meters of all public places.

This provision and others faced strong opposition from British American Tobacco Uganda, which lobbied policymakers to provide for designated smoking areas.

The Global Tobacco Survey which is said to be the first ever in Uganda released in July 2014, reveals that 62 percent of adults who visited bars or nightclubs were reported to have exposed to secondhand smoke and 20 percent who worked indoors had been exposed to tobacco smoke at their work places. This new law will ensure everybody’s right to breathe clean air.

This new law will also necessitate graphic health warnings covering 65 percent of tobacco packets, ban all tobacco advertising, promotions and sponsorships, prohibit sale of cigarettes to under-aged below 21 years, prohibit cigarette sales within 50 meters of educational institutions, health facilities, cinemas, police stations, prisons and other places where children are called for.

– Asian Tribune

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