Home Health FDA and Ghana Police Service Join Forces to Combat Tobacco Smoke Activities

FDA and Ghana Police Service Join Forces to Combat Tobacco Smoke Activities

Participants at the World No Tobacco Day commemorated in Koforidua by the Food and Drugs Authority and its stakeholders.
Participants at the World No Tobacco Day commemorated in Koforidua by the Food and Drugs Authority and its stakeholders.

In move to combat the scourge of tobacco smoke, the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has joined forces with the Ghana Police Service to launch a crackdown on illegal tobacco smoke activities in Eastern Region.

This collaborative effort is a major step forward in the fight against the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, which is a significant public health concern in the region and in Ghana as a whole.

Mrs. Anita Owusu-Kuffour, Eastern Regional FDA Head, said “When we see fliers and posters indicating activity of tobacco smoke we join forces with the Police to ensure such activity doesn’t happen.”

She was speaking at the World No Tobacco Day commemorated in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, an annual awareness day that takes place on May 31.

It is organised to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption worldwide.

The 2024 theme was: “Protecting children from the interference of the tobacco industry.”

Tobacco smoke is a serious public health concern, as it contains over 7,000 chemicals, including 70 known carcinogens that can affect various parts of the human body.

Mrs. Owusu-Kuffour said in 2012, Ghana enacted and implemented a national Tobacco Control Act, the Public Health Act 851, which prohibited smoking in all public places, however, the social trend these days was getting out of hands.

Notwithstanding, she said the FDA as part of its regulatory activities for licensing of foods establishment “we shall persist to enforce the law on tobacco at the licensing level.”

In a presentation, Mr. David Arhin, Principal Regulatory Officer of the FDA, Eastern Region, explained that tobacco is any of the several green leafy plants belonging to the group of plants called Nicotiana, especially the type called Nicotiana tabacum, that yields nicotine rich leaves and grows very well in warm climates.

He explained that there were two main types of tobacco smoke, smoked and smokeless.

Smoked tobacco includes cigars, cigarettes, pipes, and shisha, while smokeless tobacco includes chewing tobacco and snuff.

“Unfortunately, these products are responsible for the loss of millions of lives,” he said.

Research has shown that eight million people die every year due to tobacco smoke, while 1.2 million deaths are attributed to second-hand smoking.

Second-hand smoke is the harmful smoke that is inhaled by people who are not smoking themselves, but are breathing in the smoke that others exhale or release from burning tobacco products.

Second-hand smoke exposure occurs when people breathe in this smoke, which can be found in public areas such as hotels, restaurants, and bars.

Mr. Arhin noted, “This is why it is essential for all stakeholders to play a role in promoting a smoke-free environment.”

He outlined several roles that stakeholders could play in this effort, including the need to increase public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.

He also said the FDA would work with the Ghana Tourism Authority and other stakeholders to ensure that hotel and public area owners comply fully with tobacco control regulations.

They would also initiate prompt response to complaints; engage with interest groups; and collaborate with the Ghana Police Service to arrest violators.

The world no tobacco day was observed with the traditional rulers, students, Narcotics Control Commission, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Police Service, and other institutions.

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