Rwanda has been hailed for implementing the tobacco control law in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) framework.
According to the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), Rwanda is ranked second after Kenya in the East African Community (EAC) in the implementation of tobacco control law.
The revelation was made yesterday during a regional workshop on policy coordination for tobacco control in Kigali. It was organised by WHO in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
Dr Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, the Deputy Director General in charge of clinical services in Rwanda Biomedical Centre, said Rwanda has integrated tobacco control in the existing non-communicable diseases policy and strategic plan.
He added that several campaigns targeting the youth in schools, women and other specific groups like the army are being conducted with the aim of increasing awareness on tobacco dangers.
“The government of Rwanda has banned tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship. This way, we can be able to save very many lives prone to tobacco deaths,” Ngirabega said.
Dr Chantal Gegout, officer in charge, WHO/Rwanda reiterated the need for total ban on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship, saying it is a powerful tool to combat tobacco use.
“Evidence shows that a total ban on tobacco promotion could decrease tobacco consumption by about seven per cent. Therefore, banning tobacco promotion is a proven and effective measure to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco in society,” Gegout said.
She commended Rwanda for being among the five African countries with a comprehensive ban that covers direct and indirect tobacco advertising.
She said that worldwide, six million people each year are killed by tobacco and of which more than 600,000 are exposed to second-hand smoke.
In Africa, current tobacco use is about 11.5 percent for both sexes. Among the youth, 18 per cent use tobacco products and the use of tobacco products or cigarettes is at 11.6 percent.
About 48.2 per cent of the youth are exposed to second-hand smoking in public places.
The workshop brought together 25 African countries to update members on the current status on tobacco control in the African countries, providing a platform on joint policy planning among the key players and development of specific country-based practical and implementation plan for priority activities, informing countries on the importance of investing in tobacco control.