Tobacco use in Africa still seen as health issue only – FCA AFRO Coordinator

16 Jun 2017

FCA at EU WNTD Debate
Tih Ntiabang, centre, during the debate on World No Tobacco Day.

FCA’s AFRO regional coordinator, Tih Ntiabang, joined several public health organisations on World No Tobacco Day in calling on the European Parliament to scale up implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) globally as a way to ensure the success of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

“We need development aid agencies to support FCTC implementation because this will prod African governments to make tobacco control a development priority, by incorporating strong FCTC policies into existing health and development strategies,” Tih said, during the high-level policy debate on tobacco and development in the European Parliament.

The debate examined the European Union’s contribution to developing policies that can ease the burden of tobacco in developing countries, and considered measures that could be put into place in the EU and globally to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

Whole-of-government approach

Tih highlighted some of the challenges of FCTC implementation in the AFRO region, particularly the fact that tobacco control is still framed as (only) a health issue and the sole responsibility of the ministry of health. “To address the tobacco epidemic in Africa, we need a whole-of-government approach,” he stressed. Other challenges include:

  • The tobacco Industry’s widespread bribery of politicians and policymakers to try and thwart law-making around tobacco;
  • Increasing cigarette affordability, and
  • The absence of compelling regulatory frameworks.

“While there are global commitments from the development community to support FCTC implementation, it is important for those commitments to be reflected at the national level because it is in the countries that change needs to happen,” Tih concluded.

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