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Ugandan schools exposed to tobacco products- ​​report

By Violet Nabatanzi, Evaline Namuwaya

Added 26th March 2018 07:00 PM

Uganda recently passed a Tobacco control Law prohibiting smoking in public places.

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Uganda recently passed a Tobacco control Law prohibiting smoking in public places.

Uganda has been named as one on the countries in Africa that is contravening the World Health Organisation (WHO) laws on Tobacco control laws and Ugandan Tobacco laws as more schools in Kampala, Mukono and Jinja have shops around them selling cigarettes.

This was highlighted in a recent study conducted by the African Tobacco Alliance that says tobacco companies are targeting school children in Africa by advertising and promoting cigarettes around schools.

The report revealed that majority schools surveyed have shops around selling cigarette displayed next to sweets and snacks. Countries that participated in the study included Uganda, Nigeria, Benin and Burkina faso. In some countries, majority of the schools had shops around selling affordable single sticks of cigarettes.

Deowan Mohee, the executive director African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA ) said while releasing the report that majority of schools surveyed are within 100 meters of Kiosks that sell cigarette, while many of the stores around the schools surveyed have cigarette advertisements.

“Studies show that tobacco advertising and sales around schools encourage children to smoke. Previously secret internal tobacco industry documents released as a result of U.S litigation settlements show that tobacco companies have purposefully targeted students and directed their advertising and promotions to stores near schools,” he explained.

Uganda recently passed a Tobacco control Law prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces. Tobacco products such as Shisha, electronic nicotine and smokeless or flavoured tobacco products were also banned.

It further prohibits young people below the age of 21 to engage in any related tobacco work.

Leonce Sessou, the communication Manager ATCA said African government authorities must protect our children from the tactics of the tobacco companies. “We are calling on our governments and policymakers to enforce existing legislation governing tobacco advertising, promotion and sale,”

According to WHO, tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats, killing about 6 million people annually. More than five million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while more than 600 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Nearly 80% of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.

In 2008 WHO reported that people who do not start smoking before the age of 21 are unlikely to start.

Moses Talibita from Uganda National health Users /Consumers' organisation (UNHCO) said they are requesting churches to sensitize the public about the dangers of tobacco use.

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