Parliament has passed the Tobacco Control Bill into law amid jostling by both the anti-smoking campaigners who cite the health damage caused by smoking, and the industry players who aver that cigarettes contribute greatly to the national purse.
According to health statistics, over five million people die from tobacco related ailments per year, making cigarette smoking one of the deadliest death traps.
As a result, several countries around the globe have enacted tough anti-smoking laws at the workplace and in other public places like stadia.
So, in light of the dangers caused by cigarette smoking, it is quite instructive that our Parliament has joined the fray and reinforced the previous ‘feeble’ anti-smoking law, in a bid to protect the people of Uganda from this preventable death trap.
Also important to note is the fact that the age limit has been stepped up from 18 to 21 years, meaning our youth will now not be duped into joining the ‘smokers clubs’.
And, talking about age and weak law enforcement, it is now no longer surprising to find youthful people in Uganda, seemingly aged below 18 years of age, engaged imbibing harmful alcoholic drinks like the sachet-packed liquors that have flooded the market.
Indeed, if Ugandans are to benefit from the newly passed tobacco control law, there is need for stricter enforcement of rules and regulations by watchdog institutions like the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBOS), the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the police.