Monday, December 6, 2021

Smoking prevalence on the downward trend in Botswana

The recently launched eighth World Health Organisation (WHO) report on the global tobacco epidemic shows that Botswana has made progress in reducing smoking prevalence.

The fresh report entitled “WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2021: Addressing new and emerging products” shows that Botswana has an adult daily smoking prevalence of 13%. This is a 2% decrease from the last WHO report on the tobacco epidemic which was launched in 2019 which showed that the adult daily smoking prevalence was 15%.

The new report which tracks the status of the tobacco epidemic and interventions to combat it notes that bans and restrictions on tobacco sales and use might have had an impact in reducing the smoking prevalence.

“South Africa and Botswana, for example, took the opportunity to designate tobacco and nicotine products as non-essential goods, thereby imposing a temporary ban on their sale,” states part of the report.

As a result of Covid-19 which was first detected in Botswana in 2019, Botswana issued emergency Covid-19 regulations to ban the import and sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products during the pandemic. “Parliament’s approval of Statutory Instrument No. 61 of 2020 made Botswana the second country in Africa (after South Africa) to prohibit the sale of tobacco and tobacco products during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency lockdown – a move that has been lauded by many as a bold step in placing the interests of public health above those of business and trade,” states part of the report.

However, while the adult daily smoking prevalence has somewhat reduced, the report notes that Botswana still has one of the highest tobacco use prevalence in Africa and ranks 7th out of 41 African countries were data was collected. This is corroborated in another WHO report entitled: “World health statistics 2021: monitoring health for the SDGs, sustainable development goals” which shows the country still has one of the highest smoking prevalence in Africa.

The 2021 WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic is the eighth in a series of WHO reports that tracks the status of the tobacco epidemic and interventions to combat it. Overall, the report notes that many countries are making progress in the fight against tobacco, but some are not addressing emerging nicotine and tobacco products and failing to regulate them.

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