NGO urges the government to pass tobacco control bill

The Programme Director of an alternative vision of development, non-governmental organization has mentioned that the adoption of the Tobacco Control Bill is the effective means of preventing the marketing and usage of the product.

Mr. Labram Musah Massawudu said to minimize the social costs of tobacco use government should eliminate tobacco industry through the adoption of the bill to reduce the lung, mouth and neck cancer, heart disease and poverty among smokers.

Mr. Massawudu made a remark to journalists in the day “instruction and training on tobacco industry interference, threats to health and the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on Monday in Accra.

He commended the Ministry of Health to show enthusiasm and commitment in the fight against the tobacco industry by taking steps to implement the FCTC through ministerial orders while Bill tobacco goes through due process.

Mr Massawudu said Ghanaians stand to gain in poverty reduction and health improvement if government domesticates the FCTC through the Public Health Bill which was passed by Parliament on July 11, this year and awaiting presidential assent.

In November 29, 2004, Ghana became the 39th country to ratify the FCTC, to “adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administrative and / or other measures and, where appropriate, cooperate with other Parties in developing appropriate policies for preventing and reducing tobacco consumption, nicotine addiction and exposure to tobacco smoke.”

Mr. Massawudu said that the tobacco industry has filed lawsuits difficult various public health measures in a number of countries, in an apparent attempt to undermine the pursuit of an effective polices.

The Program director said that the tobacco industry is expanding its war against public health, outside of the national courts and the international arena, and therefore the government must understand these new threats, and to stand together to defend its sovereignty.

“As tobacco control takes hold, the industry continues to adjust its bullying tactics so that it can advance its ultimate aim, to hook a future generation of smokers.

“After the attack, public health policy in national courts and through bilateral agreements, they are now enticing government to do their dirty work in the World Trade Organization,” Mr. Massawudu said.

He said that an effective means to minimize the use of tobacco is the removal of the tobacco industry by introducing a tax on tobacco products increase, the introduction of graphic health warnings on packages and a complete ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

According to the WHO, tobacco smoking deaths in the world increased from five million in 2005 to 8.5 million this year, while the global market cigarettes also increased by 23 percent in 2012 reached 464.4 billion dollars.

Some of the topics discussed were the tobacco industry to undermine the efforts of the Health and industry association’s proceeds to infiltrate and undermine the success of the contract and intimidation through lawsuits by tobacco companies.

Mr. Massawudu asked the media to take an interest and to create awareness of the key provisions of the law of public health, particularly on measures of tobacco control.

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