The Ugandan Parliament passed a law today that brings Uganda into line with the strongest tobacco control policies around the world. This ground-breaking law will secure some of the toughest restrictions on the distribution, sale and use of tobacco products currently in place and position Uganda as one of the leaders in tobacco control in the region.
The Union has supported the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s tobacco control efforts since 2012, to develop a national strategic plan for tobacco control and to implement stricter tobacco regulations.
This milestone legislation comes following a four-year onslaught from the tobacco industry to block the passing of more stringent tobacco control in Uganda and provides the following protections:
• 100% smokefree public areas: smoking is not permitted within 50 meters of public spaces
• Complete ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS), as well as on cigarette pack displays at the point of sale
• No sale of cigarettes in public places such as healthcare facilities, cinemas, police stations, prisons, or within 50 meters of educational institutions or places where children are cared for
• No sale of tobacco products to any person under 21 years of age
• No sale of duty-free tobacco products
• Complete ban on shisha (waterpipes), electronic cigarettes and chewable tobacco products
• Large pictorial health warnings, covering 65% of the pack, to inform the public of the dangers of tobacco
The law also outlines the creation of the National Tobacco Control Committee, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, and provides for an elaborate enforcement plan, permitting law enforcement officers to seize, confiscate and destroy tobacco products as necessary in order to uphold the new legislation.
The Union would like to congratulate Uganda on its outstanding achievement, which will safeguard the health of its citizens and hopes that Uganda’s neighbours will take notice and follow its example to implement similar protections against the serious health risks of tobacco use.
The Union will continue to work alongside ministries of health to support these successes. We hope that the international community will join us in supporting the efforts of other countries around the world as they work to curtail interference from the tobacco industry and pass tougher tobacco control policies and regulations worldwide.