Tobacco control mechanisms in Gambia

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
The Gambia is bracing herself for more measures in the coming year towards tobacco control.

The country has agreed that basing specific excise taxes on weight is less effective for a government with the dual objective of controlling tobacco consumption and maximizing revenue collection from the products.

In order to address this problem, the country is moving from a weight based specific tax to one based on the number of cigarettes.

The country’s finance minister revealed to the National Assembly that cigarette price would also be increased in coming years.

The dangers associated with tobacco smoking are well known by many, including the smokers, manufacturers and traders, yet tobacco is highly consumed in many countries, including in The Gambia.

Even though it has been banned to promote and publicize tobacco in the country, the commodity is still well consumed here.

Despite the measures, many people are becoming addicted to tobacco consumption in the country, especially among youths.

In our view, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control must be implemented to the fullest.

Smoking it has been said causes serious health risks such as getting cancer, strokes and heart disease and, more seriously, it kills.

Described as the leading preventable cause of death in the world, tobacco effects kill more than five million people each year.

In fact, according to health experts, the tobacco smoke that is inhaled causes lung cancer, sinus disease and chronic obstructive lung disease.

We are also told that second-hand smoking is equally serious and accounts for many deaths as well.

There should be more efforts in raising awareness of young people on the harm associated with tobacco, drugs and substance abuse, and prepare them to be responsible future leaders.

There must be more concerted efforts in implementing the anti-tobacco bill, to protect innocent people from harm as a result of smoking.

We urge the enforcement of the Prohibition of Smoking (Public Places) Act 1998.

The Act provides for the prohibition of the smoking of tobacco in public places.

“The best way to stop smoking is to just stop - no ifs, ands or butts”

Edith Zittler