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Kampala- Friday September 28, 2012 - The WHO Deputy Regional Director for Afro,  Dr.  Matshidiso Moeti  has hailed CTCA for an impressive start in the target countries.  Dr. Moeti was visiting the CTCA offices in Kasangati, near Kampala  to acquaint herself with the work of the Centre.  She said that WHO is interested in supporting the Centre to excel in its work, adding that Non- Communicable Diseases ( NCDs) and particularly Tobacco Control are priority areas for WHO.
 Dr.  Moeti  emphasized the need for CTCA to leverage the relationship with WHO at all levels,  including both technical and policy  dimensions to ensure that the Centre is able to progress as it is supposed to in the target countries.  She urged the Centre to build a critical mass of people knowledgeable about  tobacco control on the entire continent beyond just the target countries. She advised them to develop training programs  for tobacco  control, and establish courses as well fellowship programs   for the benefit of the entire continent.  Dr. Moeti further urged CTCA to explore the option of linking tobacco control to the NCD programs in the Ministries of Health. 
Regarding partnership, Dr. Moeti challenged the Centre Staff to mobilise partnership especially at the country level adding that it would be good to leverage the relationship with WHO country offices to strengthen the various partnerships in the countries. She further stressed the need for CTCA to keep the donor abreast of the progress as well as help them understand and appreciate the context under which the Centre operates.
In his remarks, the Centre Director, also Dean of the Makerere University School of Public Health ( MukSPH) Prof. William Bazeyo applauded  Dr. Moeti’s invaluable support and contribution to the initial resource mobilization process that culminated into the establishment of the Centre.  He pledged that the Centre will ensure that her efforts bear fruit on the continent.
Prof. Bazeyo noted that MukSPH  partners with public health schools on the continent who would also like to benefit from tobacco control training programs adding that there is a lot of demand from these partner Schools.  He therefore called on WHO to support the Centre to develop its internal capacity to enable it effectively become a tobacco control training resource for the Africa, and fill the existing gap. He said this can be done by WHO facilitating resource persons to carry out in-house training at the Centre which he said would be a more cost effective way of developing the Centre’s capacity to support the Ministries of Heath. In response the request, Dr. Moeti agreed that this approach could be explored as a strategy  towards building a critical mass of Tobacco control knowledgeable persons.
CTCA Manager, Dr. Possy Mugyenyi briefed the Deputy Regional Director on the progress of the Centre since its inception. He said the Centre benefits from the linkages with both WHO and Makerere University, adding that the relationship has been instrumental in facilitating the implementation of the Centre activities in the countries. Dr. Mugyenyi reiterated the Centre’s commitment to attaining the strategic objectives aimed at ensuring a reduction in the consumption of tobacco on the continent.   
Prof. Robert Machang’u who represented the WHO Country Representative for Uganda said that the country office is comfortable working with the Centre, adding that all matters of the Centre are well taken care of.

The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa ( CTCA) has hailed Council of Ministers in Mauritania for adopting the Tobacco control Bill 2012. The decision follows a validation process by tobacco control stakeholders in the country which reviewed the draft Bill in June 2012, and made some amendments and recommendations. 

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Uganda's First lady Mrs Janet MuseveniThe First Lady of Uganda, Mrs. Janet Museveni has pledged to use the First Ladies’ Forum for Africa to advocate for Tobacco Control in Africa. Mrs. Museveni, who is also a Member of Parliament has also promised to fully support the Uganda Tobacco control Bill when it comes to Parliament in September.

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Kampala; August 15, 2012

CTCA applauds the court ruling on Australia’s ‘plain packaging’ law The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa ( CTCA) congratulates and applauds the Australian government for the huge win on plain packaging on cigarette packs. 

In a landmark ruling, the Australian government has secured a victory over tobacco companies with the High Court ruling that the world-first plain packaging laws are constitutionally valid. The cigarettes in plain packaging will go on the shelves of Australia on 1st December, 2002.

Under the legislation, all cigarettes packaging in Australia will not be allowed to have tobacco company logos and brand imagery. Instead, they will be sold in brown coloured boxes with the brand names in standard text. The only imaging allowed will be photos of people suffering from diseases caused by tobacco use.

The purpose of the legislation is to prevent youth from starting smoking by reducing the appeal of tobacco packaging. Research shows that young people ‘like’ regular packs and found plain packaging ‘boring’ and ‘less trendy’. They reported that they were less likely to start smoking if all cigarettes were sold in plain packs.

Plain packaging has several other benefits. It will remove the ability of the cigarette companies to falsely imply that some brands like ‘light’ or ‘low tar’ are less harmful than regular cigarettes. It will also enhance the effectiveness of health warnings. 

The new law will now make it illegal, for example, for the cigarette manufacturers to market cigarettes in ‘slim’ packages to women to promote the belief that smoking is a way to stay thin and control weight.

The tobacco industry fought against Australia’s move on plain packaging as ferociously than any other tobacco control measure, because they know that plain packaging would have a major impact on smoking in Australia - and in the other countries that might follow Australia’s lead. The cigarette pack is considered as one of their most powerful marketing tool. Plain packs will put a stop to this form of unethical promotions of the tobacco industry like attractively designed cigarette packs being sold in our countries.

In April this year, the High Court in Australia heard challenges by several tobacco companies to the validity of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011. The plaintiffs sought to rely upon the restraint upon the legislative power of the Commonwealth Parliament found which empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to "the acquisition of property on just terms".

The plaintiffs / tobacco companies argued that some or all of the provisions of the Act were invalid because they were an acquisition of the plaintiffs' property otherwise than on just terms.

This is the second blow in quick succession from the court’s to the tobacco industry’s view that cigarettes are ‘legal’ and that it has a right to market this deadly addiction as though they were selling wholesome apples and oranges.

 Last week, the Constitutional Court in South Africa denied British American Tobacco SA leave to appeal against a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling that a ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco products under the Tobacco Products Control Act was “reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society”.

Both rulings come at a time when many African countries are working hard to ensure that they enact comprehensive tobacco control legislation and policies to support the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( FCTC).

Among CTCA’s target countries, Uganda and Mauritania are currently working on the their tobacco control bills that contain provisions on Graphic Health Warnings.

South Africa and Kenya are in the process of developing Graphic Health Warnings.

 

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