I know it kinda selfish in a way to support a bill that encroaches on what some are calling their right to smoke or even to kill him themselves. Even though such rights don’t exist anywhere in the world. Smoking is no right and killing oneself in Uganda is punishable by caning the dead body.
But I have my reasons, as to why I support this bill and pray that if it past, it can be implemented well better than the other laws Uganda passes.
I support the bill because it is a health bill, it is about the general health of people in the society. This includes smokers and non smoker. Poor and rich, young and old, born and unborn, happy and sad. Every person is catered for in this bill.
According to WHO, Uganda has over 13,000 people dying from tobacco related illnesses every year. Am not sure how these stats were generated but they are kinda alarming to me and mostly threatening. This means every day approximately 36 people die because of tobacco related diseases.
I would like this number to reduce to a reasonable number or to a no number if possible, if the section in the bill that says Smoke Free Environments that provide 100% smoke free environment to enshrine the rights of non-smokers can shelter people from getting such diseases why not. This helps protects present and future generations from the devastating health, social, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Talking about our future as young people, more than 17% youth in Uganda use tobacco products. Among these are my dear friends and family members that I love so much God knows I do…. but these people drown themselves in shisha, cigarettes that they are influencing others who are making this rate of tobacco use among boys and girls to be a rising scale.
You should know that the biggest population of Uganda constitutes more of the youth, which puts this country at a risk because most of them are involved in social activity called smoking.
Truthfully I worry about my peoples, a few months ago I was a usual visitor to the Cancer Institute and I never liked what saw there. People are suffering with lung cancer, babies who have never smoked in their lives but were affected by second smoke. I know smoking is the not the only causes of cancer but it contributes more than other pollutants because of it’s chemical contents.
Do you know that one out of every four lung cancer patient who has been to the Uganda Cancer Institute is a tobacco user? Yeap!!! I was also shocked and this was the biggest shocker of all….For every US$1 received from the tobacco industry as revenue, the government of Uganda spends US$3 on treating tobacco-related illnesses and diseases , that i ss according to the World Bank.
According to the Tobacco control bill, it aims reducing the expenditure of the government on tobacco-related diseases and therefore save resources that can be devoted to other social and infrastructure development needs after all the industry is not paying that much taxes to cater for our health at the cancer institute.
Some of you are going to ask me about the farmers, how can I support a bill that is trying to take away their income earning venture…. I feel you people and understand, but the Tobacco industry is cheating our farmers, it is not paying them what their are worthy.
The amount of money spent on tobacco products reduces the amount of funds available for food, healthcare, shelter, education, and savings for these people, and you should know that the fertilisers the industry gives have negative effects on the soil, that when stop growing it, you can’t grow anything on the land.
Plus these farmer are neglecting other crop to grow tobacco hence starving themselves for less money and living in poverty. Also growing tobacco requires 3000 man hours of labour to attend to one hectare, compared to 295 man hours for beans and 265 man hours for maize.
Tobacco growing is a great contributor to school dropout. The Ministry of Education attributes 9% of all school dropouts to tobacco growing. Recent studies indicate that 60% of girls and 40% of boys of school going age are unable to join schools in tobacco growing areas. Children as young as 5 years are involved in tobacco farming, it is that bad.