Tobacco:Only 6 companies have been licensed

By Wasswa Deo

Six (6) Tobacco companies have been licensed by the Ministry of Trade to begin operations for the 2017 Crop Season in the country.

Major objectives of these licensed companies including, sponsoring tobacco farmers in their areas of operations and promote use of certified Tobacco seeds.

While handing over the contracts to these companies, Ambassador Oneni Julius, the permanent secretary at the ministry of trade has noted that, licensing these companies is a move to alienate quack companies that have been fleecing and cheating tobacco farmers.

The licensed companies includes, Alliance one Tobacco, Leaf tobacco and commodities, Uganda Tobacco service limited, Nimatabac  Limited, and Continental  Tobacco limited.

Photo: The Financial Gazette

Uganda police Partners with UNHCO on enforcing the anti tobacco law

By Waswa Deo

Uganda police is in a partnership with Uganda National health User’s  and consumer’s  organization(UNHCO) to sensitize police officers countrywide on how best to implement the Tobacco control Act 2015.

According to Taire Idhwege Geoffrey, the commissioner environment, protection at police unit, the partnership seeks to call upon each Ugandans including police officers to follow the law that puts into effect a 100% smoke free future for Ugandans.

Robinah Katirimba, executive director Uganda National health User’s and consumer’s organization (UNHCO) says they will continue to go into several partnerships with  other government and private institutions to give full implementation of the law.

The Uganda parliament passed a law last in 2015 on 28th July that brings Uganda into line with the strongest tobacco control policies around the world.

The law was then launched officially, on 31st June this year to into use.

The law prohibits, Smoking within 50 meters of public spaces, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, as well as on cigarette pack displays at the point of sale, sale of cigarettes in public places such as healthcare facilities, cinemas, police stations, prison, or within 50 meters of education institutions or places where children are cared for, sale of tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age. Among others.

Police doesn’t have enough work force to enforce the anti tobacco law

There is lack of sufficient police manpower to enforce the Anti-Tobbaco Law, URN has learnt. Mid this month, government announced the operationalisation of the Anti-Tobacco Law, which seeks to regulate smoking. The law makes it unlawful to sell or operate tobacco-related products or smoke a cigarette within 50 meters from any public facility or place.

The law also criminalizes smoking, importing and selling of shisha and other tobacco products like Kuber, which is packaged in green plastic sachets and sold off the counter in supermarkets. The law also criminalises buying of a stick of cigarette and only allows buying and selling a packet of cigarette.

Despite the operationalisation of the law, URN has learnt that there are only 200 officers trained under the Environmental Police Unit who have received training to enforce the Anti-Tobbaco Law. The force needs more than Shillings 4 billion to train and sensitise police officer across the country to enforce the act. Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, says the public will have to wait until next year before police can begin enforcing the law.

According to Enanga, the officers need to study and internalize the law before they start enforcing it.

URN visited Arua Park in Kampala and spoke to some people who said they were not aware about the Anti-Tobacco law. Our reporter found several people including police officers smoking freely. Brain Mambo, a smoker told URN that he isn’t aware of the law banning smoking in public.

He said in any case if the law exists, government should designate smoking zones in public places such as parks and markets where people can comfortably smoke. Umar Kawooka, who our reporter found smoking freely outside Old Taxi Park, said he didn’t know that smoking in public has been outlawed.

Olive Namusoke, a cigarette vendor outside Kisenyi bus terminal told our reporter that she wasn’t aware that is illegal to display cigarette. She promised to abide with the law, once she gets more information.

Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, the National focal person for Tobacco control requested the press to spread information about the law and help reduce the number of people who die due to tobacco related illnesses.

A survey conducted by the Health Ministry in 2014, shows that about 13,500 people die annually due to tobacco related illnesses.  The study also shows that 75 percent of all patients with oral cancers reported at Mulago Hospital in 2008 had a history of tobacco smoking.

Health experts say exposure to tobacco smoke causes diseases including respiratory infections and disease as oral, lung and throat cancers.




By Moses Kidandi

Government has released three forms survey indicating 20% of the youth are using tobacco compared to 10% adults that are tobacco users.

The Ministry of Health Tobacco Control Epidemiologist David Kadobera says that the surveys shows that youths use smokeless tobacco yet adults smoke yet young female smokers are more than adult ladies who smoke.

The findings are from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, Global Youth Tobacco Survey and Uganda Cancer Institute Tobacco Study.

Kadobera discovers that 60% of the mouth and stomach cancer at Mulago Cancer Institute are tobacco related causes while the annual 13500 deaths are due to tobacco related diseases.


British American Tobacco accused of bribing senior politicians in order to sabotage anti-smoking laws

British American Tobacco, one of Britain’s biggest companies, has been accused of bribing senior politicians and civil servants in a bid to sabotage anti-smoking laws.

The allegations by whistleblowers from the company, and supported by court documents, relate to the company’s operations in several African countries.

Paul Hopkins, who served in the Irish Special Forces before working for BAT, claims he broke the law for the tobacco firm. “I was a commercial hitman,” he said in an interview broadcast on BBC One’s Panorama.

Commenting on the practice of bribery, Mr Hopkins, who worked for BAT in Kenya for 13 years, said: “It was explained to me in Africa that’s the cost of doing business.”

Several individuals involved with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) were allegedly targeted.

Under the UK Bribery Act, British companies can be prosecuted for bribery which takes place overseas. And anti-smoking campaigners are demanding the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) launch a criminal investigation into BAT.




Source: Independent