Govt steps up fight against public smoking


By Oumie Mendy

The Non-Communicable Disease Unit of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education is set to intensify the implementation and enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act, which prohibits its use in all public spaces.

Speaking at a press briefing held at the Central Medical Store in Kotu, Omar Badjie, the program manager, who is also the national focal person for tabacco control in the country, said the use of tobacco is is becoming prevalent especially among the youths.


He disclosed that a recent study shows that the prevalence of tobacco in the country is 16.7%.

“Looking at this percentage compared to the population, it is a huge number. The worrying thing is that the youths are more involved in tobacco use,” Badjie warned.

The Tobacco Control Act adopted in 2016 bans smoking in public places and advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.

While the Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 contains implementing details related to health warning contents, sales restrictions, disclosure requirements, smoke free places, and enforcement.

Police Commissioner Pa Bojang, said the enforcement of the Tobbacco Control Act will not be usual as all stakeholders are proactive to carry out their respective responsibilities.

 “There is an ongoing operation to stop the use of shisha, cigarette packs with no health warning image and other tobacco products. The committee went around the country sensitizing everyone on what type of cigarette to sell, whom to sell it to and where to smoke. We are not depriving anyone of cigarette business but it has to be done in accordance to the Act because anyone found wanting will face the law,”  the police commissioner warned.

He expressed concern with uncontrolled use of shisha by younger people within the hospitality areas.

“Young girls aged 14 or under are using shisha and the proprietors of those businesses would say it makes more money for them but they are not worried about the deterimental effects of these acts on the future of our children. For our country to go forward and to maintain a healthy population, tobacco needs to be under control. This is why we are going to make sure anyone found wanting will be arrested and he or she will face justice,” he added.