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Editorial: Gov't Should Make Tobacco Smoking Unattractive   
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Anti-tobacco activists have expressed worry over how cheap tobacco is in abundance in Ghana to the extent that it is very easy for children to acquire the harmful product.

Public Agenda's enquiries have for instance revealed that a stick of cigarette could go for as low as five Ghana pesewas. A pack can also go for only between GHC1.00 and GHC1.50p. Meanwhile, in the United States, a pack could go for as much as $5.00, the equivalent of over GHC7.00.

Smoking parents do not help matters either; they send their children to buy them the stuff and in the process the children get introduced to smoking. Some children are asked to sit by stores and sell cigarettes which all go to introduce them to smoking. Meanwhile, tobacco has been found globally to contain a lot of harmful chemicals that cause various forms of cancer and other health complications like impotence and infertility in humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects, for example, that if nothing is done about it, tobacco will kill 6 million people in 2010, more than HIV, Malaria and TB combined, and over 10 million smokers and passive smokers by 2030 with 70% in developing countries including Ghana.

In Ghana, Organisations like Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) have been championing the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill into law to help regulate the industry and protect the lives of the country's human resource.

A particularly worrying situation is the exposure of young people to tobacco and tobacco products. If tobacco is so cheap in Ghana, it stands to reason that in their curiosity, some children would like to try it out and in the process they get hooked up.

Public Agenda thus adds it voice to the several appeals to the executive arm of government as well as Parliament to fast track the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill into law.

Besides, Government should make an upward adjustment in the taxes imposed on tobacco products to make them generally unattractive in the country. A hundred percent increment in this direction will be welcome news.

Public Agenda equally calls on parents to monitor their children and make sure they do not take to smoking in any form. Smoking parents must particularly know that aside the harm smoking does them, they would be abusing the rights of their children if through any act of theirs, the children get hooked up to smoking.
Source: Public Agenda/Ghana

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