If you are 20 years old or younger, you cannot smoke in Uganda according to the new law signed by the President on September 19, 2015. The new Tobacco control Law is aimed at protecting none smokers and raising the age at which youths start the habit. It also mentions where you can and cannot smoke.
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world accounting for over 5,200,000 deaths a year. This is higher than deaths from malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined and in Uganda, statistics indicate that about 18% of secondary school students and over 32% of students in tertiary institutions smoke.
So what is in the new law?
- You will not be able to buy a single stick of cigarette, you must buy a whole packet. This is meant to make cigarettes expensive for young people to afford.
- Shisha and kuber, a chewable tobacco, are now illegal in Uganda. A Shisha smoker inhales tobacco from about 300 cigarettes disguised with a nice flavour to make it seem harmless.
- Companies must pack cigarettes with a large health warning sign occupying 65 per cent of the entire space on the packet.
- Cigarettes should not be sold in education institutions and If you must smoke, it will be 50 metres from any public facility such as a school or a hospital.
- Smoking zones are to be set up for smokers.
If this law is effected, breaking it will get you up to seven years in jail or fines not less than Shs4.5m or both.
This means that if you don’t smoke at all, its not time to start.
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