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18.01.2005 General News

Stop accepting donations from Tobacco Companies - Advocates

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Accra, Jan 18, GNA - State organisations, institutions and communities have been urged to refuse donations and any form of assistance from tobacco manufacturing companies since their products continued to do more harm than good.

The Network for the Accountability of Tobacco Trans-national (NATT), a network of tobacco control advocates in the West Africa Sub-Region, which made the call particularly asked University authorities to desist from taking any support from the British-American Tobacco (BAT) to avoid any compromises or interferences with scientific researches on tobacco.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Mr Issah Ali, an Executive Member of NATT, explained that it was contradictory for any educational institution to receive any kind of support from BAT, a firm that continued to kill more people with its products.

He said NATT "sees such assistance from Tobacco firms as silencing people and institutions that would otherwise expose the industries deadly activities".

He wondered why tobacco manufacturers continued to focus their operations in Africa, especially in the West Africa Sub-Region without regarding laws that guided their operations by refusing to boldly inscribe the effects of tobacco on the packets of cigarettes.

The NATT, therefore, urged Governments in the West African Sub-region to incorporate stringent tobacco control measures into their national agenda and ensure its implementation to protect its citizens from the harmful effects of tobacco use.

It suggested an increment in taxes on tobacco products, protection of control policies from the tobacco industry's interference, effective monitoring of tobacco industries' activities and the prompt ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) by all governments.

It particularly appealed to the Government of Ghana to consolidate its lead as the first country in the Sub-Region to ratify the FCTC, by promptly passing the bill into law and also to implement its policies. NATT in its steps towards a tobacco-free West Africa has toured Nigeria, Togo and Ghana to appeal to the various governments to take action to reduce tobacco use and its effects on their populace.

It is yet to visit communities that host tobacco plants and farms in and around Ghana to educate them on the negative effects of tobacco and to also collaborate with the clergy and other religious organisation in the fight against tobacco use.

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