Civil Society Organizations (CSO) want full enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act 2015 to address tobacco smoking related health problems.
They also support significant tobacco tax increase as an important public health policy
The CSOs want government and the public to resist tobacco industry intimidation and protect public health laws against commercial and other vested interests.
Uganda National Health Consumers’ Organisation (UNHCO) Executive Director Robina Kaitiritimba says the economic and health toll tobacco has on Uganda is alarming. She says at least 50% of throat cancer patients at the Cancer Institute in Mulago are due to smoking.
UNHCO legal counsel Moses Talibita says that while British American Tobacco Uganda (BAT) allegedly contributed 69 billion in 2014 and 71 billion in 2015 to national budget, the contribution is dwarfed by how much Uganda spends in treating illnesses resultant from tobacco use.
The annual total health cost of tobacco use in Uganda (including both direct and indirect costs) is at UGX 328.82 billion (about US $ 89 million) which currently outweighs the reported or assumed benefits in form of revenue and income generation from the tobacco industry.
This means that for one dollar from the tobacco, Uganda spends four dollars in management of tobacco related diseases.
Kaitiritimba blames the continued illnesses and deaths due to tobacco related illnesses on the direct and indirect tobacco advertising that contravenes the Tobacco control Act 2015.
In 2007, Uganda signed and ratified the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
Uganda has instituted various measures to curb and discourage tobacco use including the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act (2015) which is the primary legislation in regulating tobacco products and tobacco use