Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Beware smokers, you may be puffing yourselves into a levy

Following moves to reduce the use of tobacco in the country, government appears to be on the verge of imposing a blanket ban on the habit with the Ministry of Health working on the “nitty-gritty” issues around the looming levy on the substance expected to be presented to Parliament soon.

A party to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, government has not ratified the treaty, meaning that smoking is allowed in certain places such as bars, cinemas, lounges and hotels.

It is not allowed in places such as malls, transport bays and public offices under Botswana laws.

WHO FCTC’s other principal objective aims to “reduce continually and substantially the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke”.

A participant at the Anti-Tobacco Network Botswana, Chief Health Officer in the Ministry of Health Setshwano Mokgweetsinyana did not mince his words over the devastating effects of tobacco usage over the entire population, hinting the introduction the “overdue” tobacco levy soon.

“We are working over the nitty-gritty issues around the levy expected to be presented to Parliament soon to reduce the devastating effects of tobacco,” Mokgweetsinyana told his audience on Wednesday at the University of Botswana, predominantly medical studying students.

“The levy has been overdue. Just like the alcohol levy, the tobacco levy will operate in the same way,” he added.

Under the stewardship of Bontle Mbongwe, Anti-Tobacco Network Botswana has made tremendous achievements in the fight against tobacco.

“We wonder why some areas are still excluded from the ban,” Mbongwe said, referring to places such as bars, hotels and lounges.

Smoking is not just the concern of Anti-Tobacco Network Botswana and the government as the habit has even permeated the halls of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

At the just ended Ntlo Ya Dikgosi meeting, Kgosi Kgomotso Boiditswe protested against the habit, questioning the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security about the number of people arrested for smoking in prohibited areas.

“The police arrested 10 people in 2015 while in 2014 no one was arrested for smoking in the prohibited areas,” revealed Minister Eric Molale, standing in for the substantive Minister.

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