Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Daily Graphic
September 29, 2008
By: Musah Yahaya Jafaru

The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization (NGO), has appealed to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) to develop "appropriate" policies to ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in the country.

It said the proposed policies should consider the maximum protection of minors, women and vulnerable groups from "false and misleading messages".

A press statement issued by VALD said the policies should, in addition, ban indirect advertising and ensure the participation of civil society in reporting its implementation and violation.

According to the statement, the tobacco industry's internal documents stated that "to maintain its profit margin and customers, the youth and children must be recruited into smoking".

It quoted a scientific editor and professor at the University of Minnesota, Professor Barbara Loken, as saying that "there is now incontrovertible evidence that the marketing of tobacco promotes youth smoking and can cause young people to begin smoking".

Besides, it said, a report, "Tobacco Marketing promotes Youth Smoking" released by the National Cancer Institute of the United States concluded that tobacco advertising targeted the psychological needs of adolescents, such as popularity and peer acceptance.

The report stated that brief exposure to tobacco advertising influenced adolescents' perceptions of smoking, smokers and adolescent' intentions to smoke.

The statement quoted the programmes Director of VALD, Mr. Labram Musah Massawudu, as saying that for some years now, and even last year during the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, some tobacco marketing companies organized rap and dance competition and jams at night for the young ones, ranging between the ages 10 and 25, at Maamobi and other surrounding communities to climax the celebration.

He said the organization of the events violated Article 13 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which called for a comprehensive ban of tobacco advertising sponsorship and promotion and stated, "Prohibit the use of false, misleading and deceptive messages and tactics to recruit minors to into smoking."

"These are the tactics the industries are using in Ghana and other countries to mislead the young ones to smoke," Mr. Massawudu was quoted as saying.

The statement said a walk through most of the streets in Accra, including Nima, Maamobi, Kanda, Ridge and other communities, showed evidence of posters of cigarettes on walls, trees and shops close to schools.

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