By Violet Nabatanzi
The World health organization (WHO) has called for a 50 percent increase in taxes on tobacco.
“We estimate that by increasing tobacco taxes, all countries would reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next three years and ultimately save 11 million people,” Collins Mwesigye from WHO told a press conference at the ministry of health headquarters in Kampala.
In 2012 Uganda cancer institute reported that 20.4 percent of esophagus cancers were linked to tobacco.
Other disease linked to tobacco use are chronic respiratory diseases, lung cancer, heart and blood vessel diseases.
Mwesigye noted that raising taxes on tobacco in support of the reduction in consumption is a core element of the WHO framework convention on Tobacco control. “As tobacco taxes go up, death and disease will go down,” he said.
Health minister Ruhakana Rugunda called upon parliament to urgently pass the Tobacco control Act to protect Ugandans from diseases and death.
He appealed to civil society to play an important role in advising Tobacco farmers to resort to other crops.
President Yoweri Museveni recently encouraged tobacco farmers in Koboko district during his visit, to adopt alternative crops for their own safety.
The manager center for Tobacco control in Africa, Possy Mugenyi noted that smoking amongst adults is going down and it is on the rise among the youth.
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