Health News of Thursday, 29 May 2014
Food and Drugs Authority has said it has finished a draft legislative instrument needed to enforce regulations against public smoking. "We have done the draft and forwarded it to the Ministry of Health, which will be sent to the Attorney-General's Department and will go to Parliament before this becomes operational," Head of Tobacco and Substance of Abuse Department Olivia Boateng told Joy News. Ghana has on its law books, a Public Health Act 581, passed into law by Parliament in October 2012. Part of the law deals with Tobacco Control Measures. It seeks to provide, among others, a legal backing at banning tobacco use in public places, advertising, promotion and sale of the product to persons below the age of 18 years.
But the public is yet to feel the impact of the 2-year-old law, although Olivia Boateng revealed her department has been conducting sensitization programmes for bar operators.
She said for the law to bite harder, a legislative instrument would have to be passed by Parliament.
According to Olivia Boateng, those who fall foul of the law could face two years imprisonment or cough up Ghc 9,000.
Tobacco smoking is scientifically known to contain over 7000 chemicals, 70 of which cause cancer and affect all parts of the human body.
According to the Disease Control and Prevention Department of the Ghana Health Service, 9.7 per cent males and 0.4 females aged 15-49 years of age use tobacco products. Six per cent of men currently smoke cigarette with an average male use of 3-5 cigarette sticks per day.