In a recent WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic 2017, Uganda was ranked among six countries that have newly adopted the complete smoke free laws covering all indoor public places and work places. The other countries included Afghanistan, Cambodia, El Salvador, Leo People’s Republic and Romania. The same report also mentioned Uganda among the seven (Afghanistan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Qatar, Republic of Moldova and Senegal) mainly low and middle income countries that introduced a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) including at the point of sale.
Then one wonders why should we involuntarily sniffle air filed with tobacco smoke from another party? Why subject a pregnant woman, infant or neighbor to passive smoking? Is it that this active smoker is ignorant about the illegality of smoking in public? Or it’s a case of noncompliance? Well these and more are the numerous questions that give me a mental pondering each time I reflect upon the negative effects of tobacco smoking.
In light of such global recognition, Uganda Health Communication Alliance in partnership with other Tobacco Control Advocates continue to blow the awareness whistle till the information reaches every citizen. The Alliance understands that effective communication requires one to use suitable communication channels for particular target groups. This explains why UHCA works closely with main stream media of radio, television and print since they are the predominate avenues through which most Ugandans get information.
Traversing the country from North to South, East to West the UHCA team has continues to make every effort count for no-smoking Uganda. Arua one fm, Pakwatch fm, Nena fm and Heritage fm from West Nile; Vision Group, Cruz FM and Vision Radio from Western Uganda while more were from Karamoja and South Western region. To be in position to train all these different journalists in how to increase sensitization is an attribute UHCA has gained experience over the year. These trainings have widely covered issues on people’s knowledge about the tobacco control act, views on dangers and economic costs of smoking among other.
It is at this point that we continue to call upon the citizens of Uganda for unified efforts to control the demand for, consumption, supply and use of tobacco use and its related products.