‘NO SMOKING’ signs are common inscriptions on and inside most public buildings, in Rwanda. However, these expressions are not backed by legislation that would otherwise serve to define penalties for offenders.
Smoking poses one of the most hazardous effects to both smokers and non smokers. Tobacco contains as many as 400 toxic substances. Tobacco-related effects cause about 25 diseases that affect the lungs, the heart and blood veins.
Depending on the nature of the substance, tobacco consumption causes lung and intestinal cancer and other diseases, as well as conditions such as heart attack. To expectant mothers, smoking may result into miscarriage, low baby weight at birth and slow child development.
Research presented to parliament, on Monday, by the Ministry of Health revealed that approximately 11 percent of the population are smokers. The worrying thing is that among these, 58.9 percent start smoking between 11 and 15 years.
Since Rwanda is an member of the WHO and actively working to discourage smoking, the call to parliament to put legislation in place that safeguards children, adolescents as well as women, is timely.