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General News Tue, 28 Oct 2008

Ghana to ban tobacco smoking in public

Accra, Oct. 28, GNA - The Ministry of Health is to ban tobacco smoking at public places in November.

Mr Abraham Dwumah-Odoom, Deputy Minister of Health, announced this in Accra in a speech read on his behalf at stakeholder sensitisation seminar on the ban of smoking in public places on Tuesday. He said the initiative would help reduce the health risks that tobacco smoking exposed non-smokers to and its resultant impact on the economy.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has attributed five million deaths each year to tobacco related illness, whilst the figure is expected to reach over eight million by 2030 with 80 per cent of these deaths occurring in developing countries.


Mr Dwumah-Odoom said: "The extremely negative impact of tobacco on health now and in the future is the primary reason for going explicit and strongly supporting tobacco control on a world wide basis." He acknowledged that although there were likely to be challenges in the implementation of the ban, the Ministry hoped to strengthen and formalise its links with relevant institutions and organisations to facilitate the implementation of the ban.


"We believe the power of in-country coordinating networks of employers, unionised groups, directors and managers of public places cannot be underestimated in helping to build a collaborated strategy in protecting the citizenry from the hazards of smoking and second-hand smoke," Mr Dwumah-Odoom added.

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Mr Oscar Bruce, Vice President for the Coalition of NGOs in Tobacco Control, said passive smoking was a major public health threat and the only way to protect the public was through comprehensive smoke free air laws.


He said the International Labour Organisation estimates also showed that 200,000 workers died as a result of exposure to passive smoking in the workplace.


Passive smokers are at a greater risk of getting lung cancer, coronary heart diseases and even cardiac death. In children, whilst 700 million people are exposed to tobacco smoking, a Ghana Health Service survey conducted in 2005 also revealed that one-third of Junior High School pupils were exposed to the smoke.

Source: GNA
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