Network for Information and Action Against Drug (RAID-The Gambia), a
non-governmental organisation championing the anti-smoking campaign including
substance abuse, illicit drugs trafficking, Aids / HIV and teen pregnancy among
others, yesterday sensitized fifty youth leaders in West Coast Region (WCR) on
Gambia’s 2016 Tobacco Control Act.
The day’s sensitization introduced the participants to the effects of cigarette smoking, penalties of the Act, sale and display of Tobacco or its related products.
Executive Director of RAID-The Gambia, Samboujang Conteh acknowledged that tobacco companies continue to target young people to be in the frontline in marketing their products, adding that this is why his organisation also targets youth groups to sensitize them on their activities.
He informed participants that The Gambia couldn’t implement the international convention automatically into National Laws, saying it has to go through procedures to domesticate the International Treaty to a National Law.
West Coast Regional youth and sports coordinator, Musa Jarra and Mamudou Keita, representative of the regional governor, both noted that tobacco has no positive effect on human health, saying smokers and parents must stop sending their children to buy cigarettes for them.
Mr. Jarra said the law is enacted to protect and not to punish. “We must come together and fight against tobacco.”
Wandifa Drammeh, Community Development Officer commended RAID-The Gambia for the initiative, saying anything that can bring threat to humanity cannot be handled individually.
Lamin K Sanneh, representative of the Regional Youth Committee underscored the importance of health, acknowledging that people must not compromise with their health so as to create a community free from implications from smoking.
The Act, he added, was enacted to control the demand and supply of tobacco and tobacco related products in the country.
RAID regional programme officer Lamin Jammeh shared that the Act puts in place offences and penalties including inside or within 100 meters of a public and work place, public transport or any other place that provides services primarily to minors with a fine between 1000 to 2500 dalasi or imprisonment for up to three months or both.
Karamo Conteh, RAID senior programme officer revealed that 600,000 people die from exposure of second hand smoking, stressing the need for people to quit cigarette to save lives and maintain a healthy nation.