Zanzibar, 12—14 September 2017: The government of Zanzibar recently endorsed tobacco control regulations in line with the Public and Environmental Health Act on 2012. These regulations are aligned to the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). The WHO FCTC is the world’s most powerful tool to tackle the escalating epidemic of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke and their negative impact on health, social and economic development. The FCTC sets out strategies that will lead to tobacco demand reduction and supply reduction while at the same time providing for international cooperation and monitoring of trends in the tobacco epidemic. These measures aim at reducing tobacco use while at the same time protecting non-smokers from second hand smoke.
Effective implementation of the WHO FCTC is urgent because over 7 million deaths occur due to direct use of tobacco and up to 890,000 deaths due to second-hand smoke. Over 80% of these "premature" deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. There are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke and at least 250 are known to be harmful and more than 60 are known to cause cancer.
The Zanzibar tobacco control regulations focus on three FCTC Strategies –they prohibit smoking in enclosed public places and impose a duty on owners of such public and places; prohibit sale of cigarettes of under 20 sticks in a pack, adopt packaging and labelling requirements that cover 70% of each side of a package, and prohibit misleading descriptors among others. The Regulations also prohibit advertisement, sponsorship and promotion.
The Regulations now in place set the stage for implementation of appropriate enforcement and compliance strategies. In this regard, the Ministry of Health with support from WHO has organized a 3-day training workshop for relevant government policy and enforcement officials to promote compliance with the requirements of the Regulations.
The workshop was officiated by the MOH Director General, Dr. Jamal Taib and attended by WHO staff, government law enforcement personnel such as public and environmental health officers, police, customs, Zanzibar Bureau of Standards, municipals, health officials and media.
On behalf of Dr. Matthieu Kamwa, WR Tanzania, Dr. Ghirmay Andemichael, commended the government of Zanzibar for its commitment to implement the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control through enforcement of the tobacco control regulations. On behalf of the WR, he reiterated WHO's unwavering commitment to work with all stakeholders to ensure successful enforcement and compliance with the tobacco control regulations in Zanzibar.
The workshop is facilitated by WHO staff from the Africa Regional Office and it is expected that at the end, participants will have increased understanding of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2016; be able to effectively enforce the tobacco control law and have in place a compliance and enforcement plan for Zanzibar’s Tobacco Control Regulations.
Implementation of provisions of the WHO FCTC is one of the most effective means to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure that "no one is left behind."