By Henry Sekanjako
UGANDA among other African countries will register more deaths if consumption of Tobacco is not checked by 2030.
According to a new report released over the weekend by Uganda National Academy of sciences, tobacco will account for 46% of all deaths in Africa by 2030 if consumption is not stopped.
The report titled ‘Preventing a tobacco epidemic in Africa’ indicates that the consumption and production of Tobacco in at least 21 African countries such as Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania Zambia and Zimbabwe among other countries had gone up.
“There is often a perception that tobacco production is beneficial to the economy by increasing employment and providing income, however these short term benefits are outweighed by the long term economic , health and environmental issues that result from tobacco production and consumption,” said Prof Francis Omaswa, the executive director African Centre for Global health and social transformation.
The report indicates that the prevalence rates for tobacco smoking in Africa range from 8 to 48% in adult men and 0.4 to 20% in adult women.
However the report further stated that while women may currently make a smaller percentage of smokers, as male smoking peaks and declines, female prevalence is expected to continue to rise especially as gender differences in prevalence shrink among youth.
“Worldwide, tobacco use causes 12 % of all deaths and 3% of deaths in Africa. Smoking is estimated to cause 71% of all lung cancer deaths, 42% of chronic respiratory disease and nearly 10 % of cardiovascular disease,” the report read.
The report warns that without comprehensive tobacco prevention and control policies by African governments, it is estimated that smoking prevalence in the African region will increase by nearly 39% by 2030 from 15.8% in 2010.
Sarah Opendi, the state Minister for primary health care, however assured that Uganda was determined to check out tobacco consumption when the tobacco control bill is passed into law.
“Government cannot compromise people’s health for economic gains, the impacts of tobacco use are evident in many things, it affects both women and children,” Opendi said while launching the report at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala.
She noted, that once the bill is passed into law, public smoking will highly be penalized which she urged all smokers to use gazetted places for smoking.