Disease Outbreak News

World No Tobacco Day 2013 commemorations in Tanzania

The Ilala District Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugimbana delivering remarks on behalf of the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam
The Ilala District Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugimbana delivering remarks on behalf of the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam

Tanzania commemorated this year’s World No Tobacco Day at the University of Dar es Salaam premises, in Dar es Salaam on 31st May 2013. The Guest of Honour for the occasion was Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam who was represented by the Ilala District Commissioner, Mr Jordan Rugimbana. Others who were present at the event were the Executive Director for the Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Ms. Lutgard Kagaruki; WHO staff; members of the Youth of United Nations Association (YUNA) in Tanzania; Representatives of various Civil Society Organisations supporting tobacco control efforts; University students; secondary and primary school students and members of the media. This year’s commemorations included the following activities:

A meeting at the Nkurumah Hall in the University of Dar es Salaam premises

The audience was addressed by the representative for the Regional Commissioner for Dar es Salaam; WHO staff; representative of the youth; and the Executive Director of the Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum.

Speech by Guest of Honour

In his speech, the Guest of Honor thanked the World Health Organization and all stakeholders involved in the fight against tobacco use including the Civil Society. Highlighting the successful efforts of the Government of Tanzania in the tobacco control, he cited the following:

- The development of the 2003 Legislation on Tobacco Control

- The ratification to the FCTC in April 2007

- Formulation of the National Strategic Plan on Tobacco Control (2010-2015)

- Enforcing regulations which ban importing, distribution and selling of tobacco products from India (Kuber and Mandrax) which target the youth.

- Enforcing regulations which ban of tobacco use in government offices and urging institutions and organization to do the same in order to promote health at the work place.

Concluding his speech, he expressed his commitment to be a role model for enforcing smoke-free environments in Ilala District, including banning of Sheesha lounges in restaurants and hotels. He further urged all stakeholders to invest in educating the public on the harmful effects of tobacco and in working together to control tobacco use in the country.

Messages from others

1. Dr. Martins Ovberedjo on behalf of the WHO Representative for Tanzania delivered the WHO Regional Director’s remarks for the occasion. Restating the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), he said “The Convention calls for a total ban on all forms of commercial communication, recommendation or action and all forms of contribution to any event, activity or individual with the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use either directly or indirectly.” He added that this year’s theme is a timely call onto the government of Tanzania to take concrete steps to ensure that any form of recommendation or action or commercial communication aimed at promoting a tobacco product directly or indirectly is banned. He concluded by reaffirming WHO’s commitment to continue to work with governments to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

2. Remarks by the Executive Director for the Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Ms. Lutgard Kagaruki urged the government to raise awareness about the addictive and harmful nature of tobacco products. She cited the alarming rise in the number of teenagers in the cities smoking Sheesha under the misconception that Sheesha is not as bad as cigarettes because the tobacco is flavoured and passes through water first. On behalf of the civil society organisations, Ms. Kagaruki called on the government to implement a comprehensive ban on all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship as outlined in the Article 13 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

TOT Training for Tobacco Cessation in Morogoro

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with support from the WHO Country Office and Regional Office conducted a TOT training on tobacco cessation for the Zonal Mental Health Focal Points on 27-31st May, 2013. Over the course of three days participants were oriented on the role of tobacco dependence treatment within a comprehensive tobacco control strategy. The TOTs are expected to cascade the training to regional mental health coordinators and develop plans for initiation of tobacco cessation programs within the mental health units.

Awareness creation activities

Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum displayed and distributed I.E.C. materials, coupled with health education through music. The school children displayed banners conveying messages on hazards of tobacco use and urged the government to fully implement the provisions of the FCTC.

Media involvement was crucial in the success of the commemorations. A number of local TV, Radio programmes and newspaper articles were produced by different media houses to raise awareness on the on the dangers of tobacco and the need to eliminate tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

WCO staff participated in a press conference organized to launch a video highlighting the harms of tobacco use produced by the Youth of United Nations in Tanzania. Dr. Grace Saguti delivered WHO Regional Director’s remarks for World No Tobacco Day 2013 during the occasion.

World No Tobacco Day 2013 commemorations in Tanzania [pdf: 491.05 kB]