Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has made a commitment to amend South Africa’s 2005 Tobacco legislation. Motsoaledi says while South Africa was one of the first countries that legislated against tobacco it has also lagged behind.
He was speaking at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco, currently underway in Cape Town. Seven million people around the world die annually as a result of tobacco use.
Some 2000 delegates and representatives from over 100 countries are attending the conference. It is the first time the conference is held on African soil and South Africa is ready to forge ahead.
The minister of health announced that the amendment of the tobacco legislation is in the pipeline.
“Talking about the changes that are going to take place. changing the packaging of smoking. Indoor smoking, the advertising etc.”
Delegates agree that tobacco control around the world is at a crossroads. While there have been achievements, more still needs to be done in developing countries.
Delegates argue that the tobacco industry is just about profits. With Africa having the youngest population in the world they have become targets.
“Talking why and how Africa is the target. Talks about what the tobacco industry are doing and how they are misleading people etc,” said WHO Global Ambassador, Michael Bloomberg.
“Governments must take the proven strategies. The progress is felt in higher income countries. We have to tartget the areas that are being targeted by these tobacco industries, “said Dr Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus , Director General of WHO.
The next few days will be a road map for tobacco control around the world.
Robust discussions and formulating strategies – at a country and global level will top the agenda.
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