The Tobacco Control Programme contributes to the reduction of the burden of disease and death caused by tobacco through reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and the exposure to tobacco smoke in all segments of the population in the African Region.
Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. Tobacco control actions will prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, help current tobacco users to quit and protect non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke.
In the African Region,43 countries have ratified or acceded to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Strengthening the implementation of the convention is one of the big challenges for countries in the African Region.
Countries in the African Region are experiencing an increasing rate of tobacco use. The fast growth of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa and an increase in consumer purchsing power is leading to larger and more accessible markets in Africa. In addition to that there are the intensive efforts by the tobacco industry to expand African markets.
Prevention is therefore the most cost-effective measure. Comprehensive monitoring informs the governments and civil society on how the tobacco epidemic harms their countries, and helps them to allocate tobacco control resources where they are most needed and will be most effective.
Tobacco control actions aim to substantially and continually reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) lays out different tobacco control measures to be implemented in order to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco, help current tobacco users to quit and protect non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke.
Setting implementation goals and developing plans and strategies for the implementation of the Convention in the African Region are imperative. In addition, building the capacity of the Member States in the region for an effective enforcement of the different strategies is crucial.
The following tobacco control strategies are in line with the requirements and guidance in the WHO FCTC:
Raising awareness about the WHO FCTC ratification/accession process and requirements;
Building capacity for the development of national action plan and comprehensive tobacco control policy and legislation reflecting the different provisions of the WHO FCTC such as protection from tobacco smoke, support for cessation programmes, warning about the dangers of tobacco, bans on tobacco advertising and promotion and raising taxes on tobacco products;
Establishing a full-time national coordinating mechanism with a designed national focal point and a national multisectoral steering committee;
Establishing a system for surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of tobacco use, tobacco control policies interventions as well as tobacco industry activities;
Mobilizing resources for national tobacco control programmes with the participation of nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.