Raid-The Gambia through support of African Capacity Building Foundation Project (ACBF), Wednesday gathered journalists from both the print and electronic media in their quest to popularise the new Tobacco Control Act 2016.
The briefing was held at RAID-The Gambia head office in Banjul.
It could be recalled that the Act was passed by the then National Assembly and on 30th December 2016, it was assented to by the erstwhile president.
Speaking at the occasion, Sambujang Conteh, executive director, RAID-The Gambia, said that the objective of Tobacco Control Act was to protect the people from devastating health risks of tobacco, saying tobacco is one of the leading causes of death in the world, as it has claimed the lives of nearly half of all its active users, and 80% of which are from low and middle income countries in which The Gambia is not an exception.
Conteh maintained that the act did not allow children underage (18 years) to buy or sell tobacco or its related products.
According to him, a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products are all covered in the new act.
He thus thanked African Building Capacity project, Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation regional and country office for their support in making The Gambia a tobacco-free society.
RAID-The Gambia boss recalled that after the bill was passed, the then National Assembly recommended to the Ministry of Health to embark on a three-month sensitisation before the full implementation of the act.
Omar Badjie, programme manager, Tobacco Control focal person at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, acknowledged that tobacco is a risk factor to all Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), positing that NCDs in the country is on the increase on daily a basis, which tobacco is a contributing factor.
Mr. Badjie indicated that the multi-sectoral working group on tobacco and stakeholders in the fight against tobacco have lineup series of nationwide sensitization, but are waiting funding to kick start the full project.
by Momodou Faal