Thursday, May 23, 2024

Govt mulls tighter controls of tobacco industry

In a bid to regulate the tobacco industry and counter the smuggling of tobacco products into the country, the government has called for registration of all the industry’s players.

Government has further made it clear that the industry should notify it of all activities.

This follows mounting concern and a public outcry that too many cigarettes are made available to the public, fanning the social problems associated with illegal use of tobacco.

Gaesi Mophuting, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Specialist, confirmed that the government is seeking intervention by regulating smoking in the country.

┬á“The notification and registration of the industry to the government is meant to make the industry account for its actions, and the health consequences are barred by the government,” said Mophuting. ┬á
She also revealed that members of the public are constantly streaming to the Ministry of Health to seek assistance to quit smoking.

Lately, the market has been hit by tobacco products, mainly cigarettes, sold in ungazzeted places.

Street hawkers, vendors in front of schools, bus ranks and open markets are the main culprits.

┬á“This concern is alarming in that it makes the products accessible and available to anyone under age and this is improper market regulation,” said Mophuting.

She said that submitting information about one’s status, such as manufacturers or distributor, location legal registration and products brands will help enable the regulator to differentiate licit and illicit tobacco. ┬á

“A cigarette is the only legal commodity that is known to kill on consumption and exposure. Therefore consumption should be reduced,” Mophuting added.

A poll conducted by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has shown that tobacco is contributing to poverty in most African countries like Botswana.

It indicated that the poor are likely to consume tobacco commodities.

The study has also shown that tobacco has an adverse impact on health, malnutrition, education and environment is relevant to almost all aspects of the Millennium Development Goals.
They recognise the close relationship between poverty and diseases.

Gaborone based tobacco distributor, Capital Distributors, declined to comment on the matter, stating that they are still in consultation with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

In vying to regulate the tobacco industry, the government plans to reduce the supply in the country, amongst minors, promotion and advertising of products.

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