NGO calls for early passage of Tobacco Bill

Mr Labram Musah Massawudu, Programme Director, Vision for Alternative Development, a non-governmental organisation on Wednesday called on the government to present the Tobacco Control Bill to Parliament for passage.

He said the Mills Administration should stand strong in the face of on-going interference and opposition from the tobacco industry and support the adoption of guidelines at the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FTTC) at the Conference of the Parties in Uruguay in mid- November this year.

Mr Massawudu made the call in a statement to the Ghana News Agency in solidarity with the celebration of the 10th International Week of Resistance to Tobacco Transnationals across the globe.

The week is aimed at building momentum in the run-up to the global tobacco treaty meeting in Uruguay.

He said the event calls for unified international action to prevent the tobacco industry from derailing the treaty’s lifesaving measures.

Mr Massawudu said the World Health Organisation has projected that the treaty can save 200 million lives by 2050 if fully implemented globally.

“Today we send the message that the Ghanaian people will not tolerate the tobacco industry obstructing our laws, those of our neighbours, and countries across the globe and we stand in solidarity with the Ministry of Health (MOH) in refusing to compromise public health with tobacco profit,” he said.

He said the British American Tobacco (BAT) corporate social responsibility programmes and signing of memorandum of understanding with government agencies and other actions were clear violation of FCTC treaty.

Ghana has already advanced in the process of getting a strong Tobacco Control Bill and that civil society would resist any weak tobacco law, he added.

The FCTC was established in 2005 and it has currently protected more than 87 per cent of the world’s population in 171 against the effect of tobacco.

It is aimed at saving present and future generations from the hazardous effects of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Source: GNA

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