WNTD 2024: MoH Takes Steps to Create Tobacco-Free Society - Onlinetimesgh

WNTD 2024: MoH Takes Steps to Create Tobacco-Free Society

The Ministry of Health (MoH), in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), Ghana Health Service, and various Civil Society Organisations, is raising awareness about the strategies employed by the tobacco industry to target children and adolescents. This year’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) theme is “Protecting children from tobacco industry interference.”

In a press statement commemorating WNTD, the MoH highlighted that tobacco use remains a significant concern in Ghana. The 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) revealed that 8.8% of students aged 13 to 15 use tobacco products, including shisha, while 4.9% use Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (such as e-cigarettes and vapes). Both boys and girls reported similar rates of tobacco use at 8.9% and 8.2%, respectively, and electronic cigarette use at 4.9% and 5.0%, respectively.

The statement emphasized the government’s commitment to eliminating tobacco industry interference, noting that the industry invests heavily in opposing tobacco control measures. This includes introducing new nicotine products, modifying existing laws and regulations, and collaborating with social media influencers to promote their products, thereby endangering young people’s health and undermining global tobacco control efforts.

The MoH reaffirmed that newer tobacco products are prohibited from importation and sale in Ghana, as mandated by sections 61 and 62 of the Public Health Act of 2012 (ACT 851) and Regulation 16 of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2016, L.I. (2247).

To raise public awareness about the impact of tobacco, the MoH, WHO, FDA, Civil Society Organizations, and other partners will roll out several activities for this year’s WNTD.

“The activities to mark this year’s commemoration include; The official launch of WNTD on Friday, 31st May 2024 in Accra and in all public schools nationwide. Public awareness creation exercises nationwide primarily using traditional and social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Radio) on the harmful effects associated with tobacco use. Posters bearing the theme for this year’s celebration as well as key messages on the effects of tobacco use, myths associated with new trends of tobacco products, and tactics used by the tobacco industry will be posted on the media platforms to reach a wide population of the youth which are the main targets of theindustry. Public educational programsin schools, markets, churches, transport terminals would be carried out nationwide with excerpts of these featured on the media platforms.”

The campaign calls on civil society, academia, the media, and all individuals to help Ghana establish appropriate measures for creating a tobacco-free society.

Read full MoH Statement on WNTD 2024

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