mercredi 24 septembre 2014

While Waiting for Anti-Tobacco Law: Cameroon Coalition Against Tobacco Pushes On With Aggressive Sensitization

© Valentine MULANGO | Cameroon-Info.Net
It is estimated that not less than 44 per cent of pupils in Cameroonian schools have already had their first contact with tobacco and an anti-tobacco organisation fears the gory statistic could get worse. In addition, 15 per cent of the people below the age of 15 are among 17.5 per cent of the country’s smoking population.
The figures above are so frightening that the Cameroon Coalition Against Tobacco (C3T) headed by Dr Flore Ndembiyembe is bent on mitigating the rate of Tobacco consumption in the country through aggressive sensitization. For this reason, C3T on Tuesday September 23 gathered the media to discuss the quality of tobacco control in Cameroon as well as communication and commercialization strategies adopted by tobacco companies in modern times.
During the meeting, the coalition demonstrated how several tobacco brands uses psychology and social context to woo more victims.
According to C3T findings, the same way alcohol manufacturers have invented sugary cocktails to get adolescent accustomed to the taste of alcohol, cigarette companies have invented cigarette “sweet” or “bonbon”.  “These bonbons are also dangerous to health as cigarette itself,” C3T warns. 
Furthermore, tobacco industries are devising other means of wooing potential smokers. These include but not limited to aggressive use of the almost uncontrollable social media, clothing of  young and attractive ladies in their brand’s T-shirts as well as the distribution of their communication gadgets to people in big cities with the ultimate goal of selling their brand and wooing new customers.
All these, the Cameroon Coalition Against Tobacco insists is against the December 2006 law governing advertisement in Cameroon. Article 39 of the law clearly stipulates that advertisements for cigarettes and other tobacco products are prohibited in the press whether by means of radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, display advertising, film or any other similar means. The prohibition also applies to any form of sponsorship or patronage highlighting cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as cross-border advertising engineered from within the Cameroonian territory.
Since Cameroon became a signatory to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in May 2006, several actions have been taken by the Ministry of Public Health and the civil society for the adoption of an anti-tobacco law. C3T regrets that the anti-tobacco law proposal has lingered at the presidency for too long.
According Dr Flore Ndembiyembe, one of the key actors pushing for the adoption of that law, several measures have been taken by the state to reduce the effects of tobacco in the society but the tobacco industry seemed not bordered by these measures. She pursues that Cameroon is under pressure from the tobacco industry reason why the state continues to subsidies tobacco cultivation.
The organisation says out of 6 million tobacco-related deaths globally every year, 80 per cent occurred in the developing world, mainly in Africa where tobacco consumption swelled by 4.3 per cent annually. “Only simple, clear rigorous laws, which are possible to respect, will guarantee the public’s power to benefit from pure air without tobacco smoke,” Ndembiyembe insists.
Shocking statistics in Cameroon
1.    28.8% of Cameroonian men and 8.1% of women smoke  while 37% of the country’s population are exposed to tobacco smoke in public and family circles
2.    15% of children less than 15 years are smokers. 44% of young students have already had their first stick of cigarette
3.    23.1% of young pupils cohabits with smokers in their homes
4.    45% of pupils cohabit with smokers outside their homes
5.    6.4% of pupils have received free cigarettes from officials of tobacco companies.
6.    90% of lung cancers are linked to tobacco
2/3 (two-third) of cardiovascular diseases are linked to passive tobacco smoking

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