Ghana: Legislative Instrument on Tobacco Control laid in Parliament

Government has laid before parliament a Legislative Instrument (LI) aimed at regulating activities of tobacco use in Ghana. The Instrument will among others allow for the full implementation of section six of the Public Health Act (Act 851) which deals with tobacco use in the country.

The draft LI has been with the Ministry of Health since July 2015, however, several attempts in the past by stakeholders to urge action on it have proved futile.

Earlier, the Minister of Health Mr. Alex Segbefia had justified the delay in forwarding the document to Parliament by attributing it to the fact that the Legal department of the Ministry was working on several health related documents for the consideration of Parliament and the LI on tobacco control was key among them.

He said the strategy was to send all such documents at a go instead of sending them in bits and that was the main cause for the delay.

Following the passage of the Public Health Bill into law in 2012, smoking in public places was declared unlawful. Also, the sale of tobacco to minors was declared illegal as well as a ban on open publicity and sponsorship of public events.

Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO), Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and other stakeholders have been agitating for a strong Tobacco Control legislation for Ghana in the interest of the people. The organizing secretary of MATCO, Mr. Clement Akoloh told “it is refreshing news for all of us. We have been on the tail of the government over this issue for long and we are happy that it is about to end. We must protect future generations in Ghana from the harmful effects of tobacco”.

Ghana’s Public Health Act (Act 851) was passed by Parliament and assented to by President John Dramani Mahama in 2012.

Chapter six of the Act provides for the control of tobacco use in the country. Among others the law bans smoking in public places, the sale of cigarette to children and tobacco advertising. It is in accordance with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).



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