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Heath Ministry Urges NGOs To Educate Youth On Hazards Of Tobacco
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The Ministry of Health (MoH) has urged the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), Coalition of NGOs in Tobacco Control (CNTC), and the Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO), to educate the youth on the hazardous effects of tobacco use and exposure, to sensitise the public and other stakeholders on the previsions of the Tobacco Control Bill, its passage, and enforcement.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health at a forum organised by the VALD on the Tobacco Control Bill, Mr. Benjamin Botchway of the Health Ministry, said tobacco is projected to kill over 10 million smokers and passive smokers by 2030, with 70 percent in developing countries, including Ghana.

He mentioned that the Ministry, through it agencies, the Food and Drugs Board and Ghana Health Service, were putting up measures to reduce to the minimum, disease and death caused by tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

The Ministry will consult with development partners to ensure that tobacco control is included in Ghana’s developmental agenda, to free Ghanaians from tobacco addiction, disabilities and death.

“Already, the Ministry of Health has taken steps to ban smoking in health facilities, and prohibited tobacco advertisements, through the various administrations,” he added.

Mr. Botchwey further noted that Ghana was among the first forty parties of the convention to negotiate the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). “The passage of the Tobacco Control Bill into an Act is worth pursuing in the interest of our people, notably children, young people, and women,” he said.

The Tobacco Control Bill has therefore been developed to implement the provisions of the FCTC. He said the bill, when passed into an Act, and enforced, would reduce tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke, therby improving the health of Ghanaians and guests.

He stressed that the Bill seeks to ban smoking in public places, prohibit the sale or offer for sale of tobacco products in health and educational institutions, theatres, sports stadia, and places with a significant portion of youth clientele.

The sale of tobacco products, he said, to persons under the age of 18 years, would be prohibited by the law. He said the Ministry will ensure that children and the youth do not take to tobacco and the use of hard drugs. The ministry would partner civil society organisations and development partners in the implementation and enforcement of the tobacco bill, when passed into an Act of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of VALD, Mr. Issah Ali, also added that they would support the government in bringing development to people at all levels of society.

He said the objective was to afford the general public the opportunity to contribute towards the passage of a strong tobacco control law, and assured the government of popular support for the tobacco bill.
Source: The Chronicle

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