Uganda Health Communication Alliance

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Tobacco Control Campaign

Members of Parliament in Uganda support Tobacco Control Bill

Early this month the Parliamentary Forum on Non-Communicable Diseases (PFNCD) convened to discuss the need to pass the Tobacco Control Bill. The Bill that was tabled in parliament early this years is still pending because of tobacco industry interference. 

Latest research (GATs 2014, GATs 2011), has unveiled that tobacco use is reducing among adults (7.9%) but on the raise among the youth (17%). Members of Parliament specifically those on the PFNCD, were unhappy with the news and agreed to double their effort in curbing the situation. “This is tragic, fellow MPs we have to do something about this, because if we don’t then we may not have future leaders,” one of the members on the committee lamented. 

British American Tobacco campaign restricts tobacco law

Uganda is out of step with other East African countries such as Tanzania and Kenya which have enacted tobacco control law.

Any avid reader of the print media in the past few months will have noticed a sustained campaign against the proposed Tobacco Control Bill 2011, perpetrated by the Ugandan tobacco industry.

The Uganda Tobacco Control Bill 2011 was initially presented before parliament in December 2011 as a private members bill by Dr Chris Baryomunsi. Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah referred the bill back for re-drafting.

Baguma Tinkasimire Richard being interviewed by journalists during the event

Tobacco control advocates in Uganda organized a public campaign to sensitize people on false and deceitful information used by the tobacco industry to convince and interfere
with the ongoing legislation (Tobacco Control Bill ) in the country.

Uganda health communication Alliance, Text-To-Change and Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO) partnered to stage the campaign as a National Day of Action for the Tobacco Control Bill.

The mass sensitization focused on giving factual information about the damages of tobacco use but also, shunning the irresponsible behavior and action by the tobacco industry in the public eye.

“Pass tobacco control bill, increase tax” - Tobacco activists urge  Ugandan government

Uganda joined the rest of the world as it commemorated  World No Tobacco Day. 

Ugandan government in conjunction with tobacco control advocates celebrated the day by holding a media conference. 

Government representatives from the Ministry of Health (MoH) together with civil society cooperated towards increasing awareness about the dangers of tobacco-use, particularly on how increase in tax will result into a drastic improvement in the fight against curb dangers related to the use of tobacco products in the country. 

Health ministry calls for increase in tobacco taxes

The ministry of Health argues that an increase in tax usually forces smokers to quit; it reduces the uptake and use of tobacco products by the youth; and it ultimately lowers consumption rates among continuing users.As the minister of Finance prepares to read this year’s national budget on Thursday, the ministry of Health has called for an increase in taxes on tobacco in order to cut down on smoking and reduce thousands of health complications that tobacco causes each year.

 

Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the minister of Health, says that every 10 per cent increase in price leads to 8 per cent decrease in consumption. Half of this decrease is attributed to adults quitting smoking and the youth not taking up tobacco products. The other half is due to people who continue to smoke.

Last year, Maria Kiwanuka, the minister of Finance, increased excise duty on cigarettes to Shs 32,000 from Shs 22,000 for Soft cup (whose local content is more than 70 per cent of its constituents), to Shs 35,000 from Shs 25,000 for other soft cup and to Shs 69,000 from Shs 55,000 for Hinge lid respectively.

African Tobacco Control Advocates equipped with media planning skills

Tobacco control advocates in Africa have been called upon to design effective media campaigns to confront the barrage of misinformation pedaled by the tobacco industry.

The call was made by the WHO Country Chief for Uganda, Dr Alemu Wondimagegnehu during a regional workshop on “Developing Effective Tobacco Control Media Campaigns” held in Kampala- Uganda. The workshop organized by the Center for Tobacco Control Africa (CTCA) and World Lung Foundation (WLF) attracted participants from 6 countries. They include;

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