Tobacco remains the only legal consumer product that kills when used as intended by the manufacturer
The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, is calling on countries in the region to prioritize the adoption of stronger warnings on tobacco products including plain packaging.
Dr. Moeti’s message comes as the global community commemorates World No Tobacco Day, under the theme: “Get Ready for Plain packaging.”
Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that require packages of all tobacco products to have a standard colour and style, and to bear only the name of that specific product. It removes the use of colours, logos and images on tobacco products, thus making them less attractive especially to young people. Plain packaging will have prominent health warnings in both words and pictures.
“Countries should expand policies on packaging and labelling to include pictorial warnings. They should consider totally banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, in line with their obligations to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The adoption of a multi-sectoral approach to tobacco control will be critical,” Dr Moeti said.
Tobacco remains the only legal consumer product that kills when used as intended by the manufacturer. In the African Region, about 146,000 adults aged 30 years and above die every year from tobacco-related diseases.
This makes tobacco one of the leading preventable risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
As part of efforts to protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco use, countries in the region are implementing a range of measures.
For example Uganda launched a Tobacco Control Act as it joined the rest of the world to commemorate World No Tobacco Day at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
The Ugandan celebrations were held under the theme Pictorial and Text Health Warnings on Tobacco product packages: An effective Tobacco Control Tool.