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23.12.2006 Health

Survey Backs Call For Ban On Tobacco

By newtimes - Salifu Abdul-Rahman
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A recent survey sampling the views of Ghanaians on calls for a ban on smoking in public places showed that 93 per cent of the populace support the call.
Also, 86 per cent of the respondents expressed concern about the rate of smoking among young people.
Edith Wellington, a senior research officer of the Health Research Unit, Ghana Health Service (GHS) disclosed this in Accra on Thursday at a dissemination seminar on the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The objective of the FCTC is to protect and preserve future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic effects of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Even though Ghana has signed up the convention, it is yet to pass a legislation to back its implementation.
Mrs. Wellington said the survey, which was conducted by the GHS between October and November, also showed that tobacco companies could lobby and pay money to delay the passage of the legislation to control the smoking of tobacco in public places.
She said there was the need to intensify public education to sensitise people on the dangers of smoking.
Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Director-General of the GHS, said there were over 50,000 chemicals in tobacco which were harmful to the human body and named some diseases associated with its use as cancer, tooth decay, heart disease, miscarriage and stomach ulcer.
He said the country could not afford to toy with the health of its people and therefore urged the government to expedite work for the tobacco control bill to be passed.
He said 'the revenue that tobacco companies give to the country cannot compensate for the harm cigarette causes to the human being.
Prof. Akosa noted that passive smokers were more exposed to the harmful effects of smoking, explaining that its ban would save the lives of a lot of people.
Matthew MacKwame, Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Journalists Association, said the media in time past supported the promotion of tobacco due to ignorance of its effects.
'Today, scientists have opened our eyes and afforded us the opportunity to educate the public about its harmfulness', he said adding that the media was a friend to tobacco companies but would no longer sacrifice the lives of the people for the sake of friendship.

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