In a coordinated effort led by the Ministry of Health, Kabale District Local Government, and the Police, a crackdown on tobacco and Shisha smoking in public spaces has been launched.
The operation which was conducted on Saturday and Sunday nights in Kabale District,resulted in the arrest of 10 individuals as authorities inspected various locations, implementing the Tobacco Control Act.
The operation commenced with surprise visits to bars along Keita Road in Kabale Town, followed by Nkunda Road street, where the arrests occurred.
Notably, at Mutoro's Bar , individuals were found smoking in violation of the regulations.
Illegal cigarettes were also discovered to be openly displayed for sale to the public.
Following the operation, the team proceeded to Monalisa Bar before extending its inspection to bars along Kigongi streets.
The enforcement effort continued, targeting additional establishments to ensure widespread compliance with the implemented Tobacco Act.
The recently implemented Tobacco Act imposes a 100% smoke-free policy in public areas, prohibiting smoking within 50 meters of such spaces.
The law encompasses a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, as well as the display of cigarette packs at the point of sale.
Additionally, the sale of cigarettes in specific public places, such as healthcare facilities, cinemas, police stations, prisons, and within 50 meters of educational institutions or places where children are cared for, is strictly prohibited.
Other key provisions of the act include no sale of tobacco products to individuals under 21 years of age, no sale of duty-free tobacco products, a complete ban on shisha, electronic cigarettes, and chewable tobacco products.
Patience Butesi says that they are in Kabale to enforce the tobacco control act of 2015 which came in to force in 2016.
She adds that the tobacco control act entitles everyone to a tobacco free environment adding that the act also says no one should be smoking in public places.
She noted that smoking is a bad habit adding the the law also bans smoking of shisha as well as cigarettes in public spaces.
Butesi noted that all those that are arrested will either be fined or warned to stop the habit of smoking in public.
Dr. Gilbert Mateka, the Kabale District Health Officer, emphasized the timeliness of the enforcement, stating that it has come at the right moment to safeguard individuals from the dangers of tobacco smoking, particularly the risk of lung cancer.
The authorities have indicated that the operation in Kabale District is set to be conducted regularly.