More than one billion people worldwide consume tobacco products
HEALTH-Uganda Health Communication Alliance officials have expressed concern over the increasing number of university female students that smoke and consume tobacco products than their male counterparts.
According to the Global youth Tobacco survey that was done two years back indicate that more female university students and female corporate class were joining a habit of smoking pipe and consuming tobacco products like Shisha, cigarettes among others compared to their male counterparts.
The revelation was on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 made by Uganda Health Communication Alliance national coordinator Charles Baguma while addressing a press conference that was conducted at Hilltop hotel shortly after launching the campaign against public smoking in Mbale town.
The survey also revealed that more than one billion people consume tobacco products but out of those seven million die every year which means that at least each minute there is a person losing life because of Tobacco.
"According to a survey done by Makerere University at least seven people die in Uganda due to tobacco. 75% of the people at the cancer institute, three quarters suffer from tobacco related cancer," Baguma said.
"We have had cases of young girls aged 13 years consuming tobacco and university female students and female cooperate classes are so much into pipe smoking, cigarettes and shisha than the male university students," Baguma said.
He said most females are influenced by peer groups while others still think it's fashionable to smoke pipe and cigarettes in public, adding that they forget that it's harmful to their health and the neighbors that consume it as passive smokers.
"The deaths caused by consumption of tobacco can be stopped and that is why we have come out strongly to launch a series of campaigns in major cities against consumption of tobacco," he said.
"We have carried sensitization sessions with media, we have talked to owners of hotels, cinema halls and night clubs to reject smokers in their premises," he added.
Baguma noted that over 10% of the people that get affected by tobacco are passive smokers, adding that hundreds die because of passive smoking.
Baguma said government has been getting sh80b as taxes from companies that produce cigarettes but it spends sh328b on treatment of tobacco related diseases every year which means tobacco factories and cultivators are a burden to the economy.
Mbale assistant District Health Officer Ayubu Madoyi noted that the practice was now days so common among the female students and celebrities, adding that it's suspected they smoke due to peer groups.
He said that they are now going to use the anti-tobacco law to charge and penalise whoever will not abide by the law, adding that the penalty is paying sh200, 000 or be jailed for five years.
He said that the number of mothers that give birth with complications caused by consumption of tobacco is on the increase.
He said that notices with massages cautioning the public about the effects of smoking should be put in place, adding that Uganda Communication Commission should also ban videos and music that promote consumption of tobacco.