Praia – The fight against tobacco in Cape Verde will go through a ban on smoking indoors and control of sales to minors, according to a plan that will help implement the new law that is expected to be approved soon.
José Teixeira, a consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) for strengthening the implementation of the framework convention on tobacco control, told reporters today that the national strategic plan for tobacco control in Cape Verde (2019-2023) aims to eliminate the tobacco epidemic in this country by 2030.
In the margin of a validation workshop of this strategic plan, which takes place in a hotel in the city of Praia, José Teixeira explained that to achieve this goal there should be a reduction of 0.5 per cent per year of tobacco consumption.
To achieve this objective, the main focus of the plan is to update legislation, which dates back to 1995, in order to create “a legal framework for people to be able to control the epidemic.”
In legislative terms, the priorities are to protect minors and passive smokers.
To this end, minors can not have access to cigarettes and closed places, such as workplaces or restaurants, will have to be smoke-free.
A tight monitoring of the tobacco industry, which “is not the same as the others, because it produces a product that only damages health”, and the increase in tobacco taxes are measures that, for José Teixeira, reduce the possibility of people buying cigarettes
The specialist also defended a “consistent program that helps those who want to stop smoking,” since this does not exist in Cape Verde.
José Teixeira stressed the importance of updating statistical data on tobacco in Cape Verde.
“We have information on the prevalence of tobacco in Cape Verde, but it is from 2007. We do not know our reality very well,” he said.
And he called for the mobilization of all partners to reduce the tobacco epidemic so that the five or six per cent of smokers can be reached, values which the World Health Organization (WHO) considers to be a epidemic.
The expert also said that in the field of tobacco, Cape Verde faces new and old challenges, namely the consumption of new tobacco products and the consumption of traditional tobacco, respectively.
The islands where most tobacco is consumed, namely traditional tobacco, is Santo Antão, but there are also high values in São Nicolau, Maio, Santiago and Fogo.
Regarding the lobby of the tobacco industry, José Teixeira declared that this is “a permanent challenge”.
“One of the axes [of the plan] is the fight against the interference of the tobacco industry. This industry, unlike any other, produces neither goods nor services, produces a product that is in the line of chemical and biological weapons of the most serious type, “he said.
The plan will guide the implementation of the Tobacco Bill project in Cape Verde, which will be handed over to the Government for approval.
The National Strategic Plan for Tobacco Control – Cape Verde (2019 – 2023) has as its mission to establish national dynamics to control smoking and its consequences on human health, the environment and the economy.
Its elaboration was coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Social Security, through the Commission for Coordination of Alcohol and Other Drugs (CCAD), and was assisted by WHO.