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Mr Issah Ali, Executive Director of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization (NGO) has called for the enforcement of stringent measures on tobacco to deter members of the public, especially the youth, from smoking.

He said government spent huge sums of money, which could be used for developmental projects, in combating tobacco-related diseases that were preventable.

Mr Ali made the call at a strategic meeting in Accra on Wednesday to discuss the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill into Law.

The Bill contained 15 proposals including a ban on smoking in public places; the sale of tobacco by children; and advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco related programmes.

Mr Ali therefore suggested the placement of 100 percent tax increment on tobacco importation, strengthening laws on illicit trade and offering of assistance to tobacco farmers to enable them to go into the cultivation of other products.

He said Ghana was among the first countries to join the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international public health treaty, some five years ago but had not been able to implement it.

He called for the enforcement of the labelling of tobacco products with health, text and pictorial warnings to protect present and future generations from the devastating effects of tobacco.

Mr Gabriel Nii Teiko Tagoe, Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), gave the assurance that the Service would continue to fight smuggling and ensure that all forms of illicit trade would be reduced to the barest minimum if not completely eliminated.

Mrs Marvi Colerangle-Ashun, Programme Officer of the Students Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, expressed the hope that the Bill, when passed, would bar minors from smoking thereby making Ghana a smoke-free nation.

Mrs Humu-Annie Seini, State Attorney of the Environmental Protection Agency, advised pregnant women to desist from smoking to save the lives of their unborn babies.
Source: GNA

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