Wednesday, July 29th 2015
Today, we gather here to congratulate Government, Ministry of Health, the Movers and Seconders of the Bill, Health Committee of parliament, all MPs, International Community partners particularly; WHO, CTFK, the UNION, ATCA and ACBF, fellow tobacco control advocates and Ugandans at large upon this huge step that we have taken as a country. Controlling tobacco sale and use will go a long way to improve the health, social and economic welfare of Ugandans.
Yesterday, the 28th of July 2015, the Parliament of Uganda made a landmark and passed the Tobacco Control Bill 2014. Throughout the debate of this bill, Parliamentarians exhibited high level of patriotism and commitment to the health of Ugandans. In passing this law, parliament put public health over and above other considerations.
The major highlights of this law include;
· Banning smoking in all public places, work places and public transport.
· Banning use of smokeless tobacco such as; Shisha, Kuber and electronic cigarettes.
· Banning all forms of advertisement, sponsorship and promotion by the tobacco industry.
· Banning sale of cigarettes to and by persons less than 21 years.
· Banning sale of duty free cigarettes.
· Requiring hotel and places of entertainment to display No Smoking signs in their premises.
· Requiring the industry to put Pictorial Health Warning on cigarette packs covering 65% of the principal display area of the cigarette packs.
· Establishment of a National Tobacco Control Committee chaired by the Prime Minister.
· Prohibiting tobacco industry interference into tobacco control policies and regulations.
· Prohibiting sale of tobacco products within 50 meters of educational and health institutions.
· Establishing an elaborate enforcement mechanism with appropriate penalties for offenders.
We are happy to note that the popular shisha, electronic cigarettes, chewable tobacco products have been banned all together. Shisha is popularly used in night clubs and pubs. Now people in public places can at last enjoy tobacco smoke free environments. Children are also well safeguarded by this law from being introduced to tobacco smoking.
As public health advocates, we believe that it is incumbent on us and all people of good will, to work together to raise a non smoking generation. The young persons and non smokers particularly must be protected and as such we call on law makers, implementers and the judiciary to be steadfast in enforcing this law.
Once again, we sincerely appreciate the role played by all stakeholders who chose to put the health of Ugandans first to pass this bill; MPs, the Movers and seconders, MoH, the executive, our development partners and our colleagues in civil society and the media. The citizens who made submissions in support of the bill – you have been rewarded by the house.
Lastly, we appeal to H.E the president to support the will of parliament and the people of Uganda and assent to this bill in order to save the lives of the current and future generations from the devastating effects of tobacco which are well documented in various scientific studies and publications.
We also appeal to members of the public to support the enforcement of this bill.
Thank you all.
Statement by the Tobacco Control Advocates