Pages Navigation Menu

Breaking news in Uganda and around the world

Public smokers face prosecution

Public smokers face prosecution

Starting today, anyone found smoking in public places will be arrested.

This follows a court ruling that blocked a move by British American Tobacco (BAT) to temporarily halt the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act 2015.

On Wednesday, a panel of five Justices of the Constitutional Court led by the Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, dismissed the application for lack of merit.                                  

Other Justices on the panel were; Remmy Kasule, Richard Buteera, Chebrion Barishaki and Hellen Obura.

“We find that the applicant has not made a case to be granted this application,” They stated. The Justices clarified that the cost of the suit would be considered in the main application.    

Last year, BAT dragged government to court, challenging the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Act 2015.

According to BAT, 22 clauses in the Act are unreasonable and contravene Articles 40 and 21 of the constitution.

The act which was passed into law in July 29, 2015, also criminalises buying a cigarette for a person below the age of 21, to sell or operate tobacco-related products or smoke a cigarette within 50 meters of a public facility or in places such as schools or hospitals.

The act also bans some tobacco products including Shisha (water-pipe tobacco), smokeless tobacco such as Kuber and flavored tobacco products.

It also restricts tobacco dealers from advertising, promotion and sponsorship by tobacco manufacturers, distributors and sellers, including at points of sale.

The Act is a fulfilment of Uganda’s obligations to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which the country signed on March, 5, 2004 and was ratified on June, 20, 2007.

Shortly after the ruling, Senior Principal state attorney George Kallemera said those dealing in cigarette business must conform to the Act while operating their businesses or risk being prosecuted.

During the hearing of the main application, Kallemera argued that the provision of the act does not contravene the constitution as stated by BAT.

“The government has not restricted anyone from dealing in the tobacco business but it has only regulated their business activities just like any other business in the country,” he submitted.

In her affidavit, Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, the national tobacco Control Focal person in the health ministry says government spends over sh1.8b in treating tobacco related diseases in a year.

“The cost of treating a patient with tobacco related cancer is at a minimum of sh6m, as the cost of chemotherapy for six cycles which can escalate in the event that it recurs even to the second consumer,” she stated. 

The lawyer representing BAT, James Mukisa argued that tobacco is a lawful business and if restricted, it would infringe on the rights of people dealing in it.

This post was syndicated from The most recent articles . Click here to read the full text on the original website.

Follow us on twitter @theugandatoday

Also, Like us on facebook

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of