By Violet Nabatanzi
KAMPALA - Students from five universities are petitioning parliament to pass the Tobacco Control Bill, arguing that it has stayed too long on the shelf.
John Paul Nuwe, a student of Makerere University and also an official of Africa Tobacco Control Alliance said plans are underway to petition parliament to have the second reading of the bill.
“So far over 250 students from five universities including Makerere University, Kyambogo, Makerere Business School, Mutesa Royal and Uganda Christian University have appended their signatures on the petition,” he said at a tobacco dialogue at Makerere University.
“We hope to present this petition to parliament as soon as possible. Students have suffered a number of cases due to tobacco use especially shisha.”
Dr. Possy Mugyenyi, the manager of Center for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) said the piece of legislation is not what “we want to keep on the shelf”.
“Every passing day people are dying of tobacco. This is not the bill that we want to keep on the shelf for years; this bill has been discussed for more than two years. It is there to protect the current and future generations,” he said.
Dr. Possy Mugyenyi of CTCA said smoking shisha is very dangerous. PHOTO/Violet Nabatanzi
Uganda, according to reports, loses up to 13,500 people due to tobacco related illness and diseases every year. The number of such deaths on a global scale rises up to six million, including more than 600,000 people who die from exposure to second-hand smoking.
On his part, Mugyenyi called on government to ban shisha smoking since it reportedly is ten times more harmful than cigarette smoking. He said shisha affects the lungs more than the ordinary smoke of the cigarettes.
“Young people are smoking shisha and they don’t feel the dangers, but will start feeling the dangers 10 to 15 years later,” came his warning.
Shisha is a water pipe with a smoke chamber, a bowl, a pipe and a hose for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco.
As with cigarette smoking, shisha smoking is also linked to oral cancers and heart diseases among other serious illnesses.