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mardi 17 novembre 2015

The C3T is unworthy of the tobacco industry interference into the elaboration of the draft texts regulating advertisemejavascript:void(0);nt in favor of tobacco use in Cameroon

Tobacco kills every year almost 6 million people. If it wishes to preserve and increase its sales and profits, the tobacco industry needs to attract new clients while replacing those who are dying or reaching those who succeedto quit. Advertisement in favor of tobacco, the promotion and sponsorship are core marketing strategies. Given that the publicity in favor of tobacco increases the probability that persons who wish to taste tobacco or continue to consume it. Also, between bright packaging, cigarette girls, advertisement posters, communication gadgets, cinema, direct marketing, free tasting, proximity sale boxes, T-shirts… the tobacco industry in Cameroon is pushing an offensive to recruit new consumers and increase its profits.
This omnipresence to tobacco products campaign is at the origin of: Cancers, respiratory diseases, Strokes, sterility, anxiety. Coupled to health dangers, tobacco has a social and economic impactwhich is translated by the poverty of persons and existing barriers of development of many countries.

To solve this problem, the countries belonging to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), went for the option of prohibiting advertisement in favor of tobacco, of the promotion and sponsorship; given that this is the most efficient means of reducing tobacco consumption. Moreover, at the end of article 13 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control of WHO, each signing party took the engagement to implement the global ban on advertisement, the promotion and sponsorship of tobacco. The above mention convention was ratified by Cameroon by the degree N° 2005/440 Bis of 31 October 2005. Also, Cameroon while respecting its commitments, in paragraph 1 and 2 of article 39 of the 2006 law regulating advertisements in Cameroon, the ban on advertisements in favor of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Following the excesses observed in the application of this law, the Prime Minister prescribed in the cabinet council in September 2015, the enactment of legislation implementing the 2006 law governing advertisement in Cameroon. It is with this sort of idea that the Minister of Communication, The President of the National Advertisement Council organized a gathering this month with the said council to examine a proposed law bill regulating advertisement in favor of tobacco and its products. The review tittle is suggestive of the decree. Given that this decree instead of prohibiting the advertisement in favor of tobacco and its products, it rather regulates it. Indeed, several articles of the text advocating the advertisement of tobacco products. Considering the tobacco control actions of the Cameroonian government, notably the ratification of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and the 2006 law regulating advertisement in Cameroon; if the National Advertisement Council is authorized to sign a decree determining the possibilities of open advertisement practices to cigarettes and other tobacco products, this will be reducing to zero all the efforts made by the Cameroon government to reduce the impact of the dangers of tobacco on populations. This will equally contribute to discredit other countries implementing this international treaty.
Given that, advertisement, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco stimulates youths to consume this poison, encouraging smokers to smoke more, while reducing their motivation to stop smoking. Partial bans have little, or no effects on tobacco consumption.
Given that tobacco kills 1 out of 2 regular consumers each year, more than 6 million of these deaths in the world is as a result of tobacco use. Tobacco kills more than malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS all combined. In Cameroon, the situation of this tobacco epidemic is a call for concern. According to the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS Cameroon 2013) conducted by the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics:
·         1 100 000 adults are regular users of tobacco;
·         19,2% of adults are exposed to tobacco smoke at work ;
·         22,9% of adults who board public transport are exposed to tobacco smoke ;
·         80,4% of adults are in favor of the prohibition of smoking in all public places.

Given that only a total and effective prohibition will enable reduce tobacco use, particularly in youths. In view of these actions the Ministry of Public Health took a decision which is to create the Multisectorial Anti-tobacco Commission, the organ bringing together all administrations implicated in tobacco control. One of these objectives is the adoption of the anti-tobacco law. A strong law having the following characteristics;

1.   Complete PROHIBITION of smoking in work places, public transport and enclosed public places.
2.   IMPOSE health warnings constituted of images and text covering at least 70% of all principal faces of the tobacco product packages.
3.   PROHIBIT all forms of advertisement, promotion and sponsorship in favor of tobacco products.
4.   PROHIBIT the sale of tobacco products to minors and by minors.
5.   Protection from tobacco industry interference: prevent the tobacco industry from influencing application of anti-tobacco policies.
6.   RAISE taxes on tobacco products.
The Cameroon Coalition to Counter Tobacco (C3T), wishes to seek the attention of the parliament, the members of the National Advertisement Council and the public, on the importance of the complete ban of advertisement in favor of tobacco. Given that, only a global ban will save lives.

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