Ghana implements a five-year strategic plan to address illegal tobacco trade


A National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS) was launched on Tuesday in Accra to combat illicit trade in tobacco and advance national efforts to promote a healthier population.

The five-year strategy with special focus on youth and low-income communities, aims to enhance community engagement and policy implementation on tobacco control.

It outlines how to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental, and economic consequences of tobacco use and exposure.

The launch of the strategy was proceeded by stakeholder training on the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The Protocol is a framework designed to confront the illicit tobacco trade, which undermines health and threatens national development.

Dr Baffour Awuah, Acting Director, Technical and Coordination Directorate at the Ministry of Health (MOH), said the strategy reflected the nation’s firm commitment to a healthier, tobacco-free future.

“The strategy we are launching today is the climax of extensive collaboration, research, and commitment by various stakeholders, experts, and civil society. Its purpose is to guide us in combatting the devastating effects of tobacco use, both in terms of health and the economy,” he said.

He encouraged participants of the training to exchange ideas and contribute valuable insights towards the effective implementation of the strategy.

“Your collaboration and dedication are pivotal in transforming this document into tangible actions that will positively impact the health and well-being of our citizens, to build a healthier, tobacco-free Ghana,” Dr Baffour said.

Dr Olivia A Boateng, Director, Tobacco and Substance of Abuse Department at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), said the tobacco menace continued to pose a significant challenge globally.

She said the issue had worsened by the illicit trade in tobacco products, which made tobacco more accessible at cheaper prices and undermined the progress Ghana had made through tobacco control policies.

Dr Boateng said illicit trade amplified the tobacco epidemic, especially among the youth, and led to adverse health consequences.

She said the training programme, which was in line with Ghana Protocol to Eliminate illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, would empower relevant stakeholder agencies with a comprehensive understanding of the Protocol and enable Ghana to effectively combat illicit tobacco trade.

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