#National News

Gambia moves to enforce, implement 2016 Tobacco Control Act

Jun 1, 2022, 11:55 AM | Article By: Jankey Ceesay

Officials at the Non-Communicable Unit at the Directorate of Health Promotions and Education under the Ministry of Health have reaffirmed the Ministry’s stance and commitment in enforcing and implementing the 2016 Tobacco Control Act (TCA).

The move was disclosed on Monday during the unit’s quarterly press briefing on the Status of Tobacco Control Act implementation in The Gambia. The development, however, came in the wake of recent mass raid of stores and restaurants in the hospitality industry within the Greater Banjul Area, in which 42 people have been apprehended for breaking TCA rule.

Giving a rundown of tobacco use in the country, Omar Badjie, programme manager at Non-Communicable Unit at the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education under the Ministry of Health, deplored the recent increase in the use of tobacco and its related products by youngsters  in the country, saying the prevalence is on the rise by the day especially among the youthfolk.

“The study that has been conducted shows that the prevalence rate of tobacco use in the country is 16.7%. And looking at this percentage and compared it to the total population of the country, it is indeed a huge percentage.”

He lamented that the worrying aspect is that it is the youth who are actively involved in its usage.

“We all know youth are the cream of society. So to prevent that we have to redouble our efforts and we cannot do that without the support of the media.”

Badjie briefly spoke about a project they are currently running supported by Tobacco Policy Action Fund for Africa, a one-year project that seeks to campaign for smoke-free environment.

The project, he added, is also looking at graphic health warnings by having images and health warnings messages.

The stance on tobacco advertisements and sponsorship, he declared, is still in force, and going by the Act, there should be no form of tobacco advertisement in the country.

For his part, Sanjally Trawally, deputy director, Health Promotions and Education under the Ministry of Health, hailed the coming of the 2016 Tobacco Control Act, but bemoaned that is not enough as having the Act is one thing and implementing it is another.

“It is good to have the Act because that will help guide you what to do. But that is not enough as the bigger task is implementing that Act. It will be a huge waste if you only have the Act without implementation.”

He also spoke about the Ministry’s resolve to continue educating and sensitising the public on the dangers associated with tobacco use.

Commissioner Pa Bojang, a member of the joint operation team, also spoke about the recent operation within the Greater Banjul Area, which led to the apprehension of about 42 people arrested for infringing tobacco and its related acts and awaiting trial.

Commissioner Bojang reaffirmed that the 2016 Tobacco Control Act is still in place and that anyone found wanting will face the full face of the law.

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