The Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikoi North Constituency in the Greater Accra region, Ms Elizabeth Sackey, has called on Parliament to consider putting in place stringent laws that will help curb excessive public smoking in the country.

According to her, it is time that the country’s law-making body and the government become decisive in curtailing the public smoking menace by placing bans on the advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in the country as implemented in some parts of the world.

She also called for the increment of taxes on tobacco products as well as prescribing large, clear and visible graphical health messages on tobacco packaging as fairly stipulated in the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

The legislator made this appeal when she read a statement which was aimed at commemorating this year’s ‘World No Tobacco Day’ which was observed yesterday on the floor of Parliament.

The 2012 annual edition was under the theme; “Tobacco industry interference.”

Ms Sackey further lamented the high patronage of cigarette by teenagers in the country due to its cheapness on the market and urged the agencies responsible for the sector to put in place efforts to salvage its excessive abuse.

“Madam Speaker, cigarette is too cheap in Ghana, my market survey indicates that a piece of cigarette cost as low as 50 pesewas, thereby increasing patronage even among teenagers.”

The minority MP observed that smoking has many side effects for even non-smokers who find themselves in smoky environment and are therefore called second hand smokers.

She gave the statistics that about 88 million non- smokers including children between the ages of three to eleven; who make up 54% of the total number are exposed to second-hand smoking each year.

The MP therefore called on all in Ghana to fight against the devastating human cost of tobacco inhalation which has become a burden for the country.

Parents were also tasked to keep and monitor their children especially the type of friends they mingle with.

Ms Sackey however, called on all well-meaning Ghanaians especially her fellow Members of Parliament to campaign with focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) because of the serious dangers they pose to public health.

“Tobacco consumption in all forms is a critical public health priority since statistics by the WHO on the death toll from smoking is horrendous and as such kills more than 5 million people per year worldwide,” she revealed.

Her statement was largely contributed to by some members of both sides of the house.

The House expressed serious concerns over excessive smoking in public places and further called on the leadership of the house to consider addressing the issue dispassionately.


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