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Ban On Smoking In Public Places...FDA Faces Challenges
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Two years after the passage of the law that bans public smoking in Ghana, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) says stakeholders are facing challenges in the implementation of the law.

An attempt by the FDA to ensure that owners of public facilities created designated places for smoking is yet to yield fruits.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Head of Communications of the authority, Mr James Lartey, reminded the public that smoking in public was still prohibited by law because of its implication.

The Public Health Act 581 of 2012 bans public smoking.

Mr Lartey observed that despite numerous meetings with owners of public facilities, some public facility owners were yet to comply.

He cautioned owners of public places who had not complied to do so before the law caught up with them.

According to him, there must be “No Smoking”, as well as “Smoking area” notices in all public facilities to inform users of the facilities where to and where not to smoke.

“This will ensure that the law is adhered to,” he added.

Avoid second-hand smoking

Mr Lartey explained that public facilities were allowed to designate smoking areas because people had the right to smoke.

He, however, indicated that in spite of that right, measures should be taken to avoid second-hand smoking, given its health effects.
According to him, one way of doing that is to ensure that smoking is done in isolation.

Second-hand smoking is defined as the process of involuntarily inhaling smoke, especially by nonsmokers, from a cigarette, cigar or pipe that is being smoked. It can cause other health problems too, including heart-related diseases, stroke and breathing problems.

Mr Lartey observed that apart from its health implications, second-hand smoking was an infringement on the right of the non-smoker.
“It is just like forcing someone to smoke against his or her will,” he emphasised.

He said the authority was currently raising awareness of the law to ensure that the public was well aware of the risk of smoking, after which stakeholders would implement the law strictly.

WHO’s call for tax increase

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, subsequently, called for the imposition of higher taxes on tobacco aimed at reducing the number of tobacco smokers to save more lives.

It made the call in a statement issued prior to the commemoration of the annual World No Tobacco Day which falls on May 31 each year.

According to the statement, based on a 2012 data, WHO estimates that by increasing tobacco taxes by 50 per cent, all countries will reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next 3 years and ultimately save 11 million lives.

It said currently, a person dies from tobacco use in every 6 seconds, adding that tobacco kills up to half of its users.

According to the statement, high prices are particularly effective in discouraging young people, who often have more limited incomes than older adults, from taking up smoking.
Source: Daily Graphic

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