The call was made in a statement issued by Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health and copied to Ghana News Agency in Accra, in commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) which falls on May 31, on the theme: “End illicit trade of tobacco products.”
According to the statement about 10 per cent of the adult population in Ghana smoke cigarette, including 4.6 per cent of junior high school students.
It said interventions such as intensive public education through the media and sensitisation of in-service and pre-service health personnel among others are being employed to curtail the situation.
It said Ghana has passed a public health law and completed its legislative instrument, which would be sent to Parliament.
The statement said the country has also signed the protocol on illicit trade.
It urged members of the public to recognise the adverse health, economic and social impacts of illicit trade of tobacco products, including the linkages to human traffic and organised drug crimes.
It said the commemoration of the WNTD would be used to raise the awareness on the harm to people’s health caused by the illicit trade in tobacco, especially the youth and low income groups.
“The campaign would also be used to highlight how the illicit trade of tobacco products is a means of amassing great wealth for criminal groups to finance organised crime activities including drugs and human trafficking, as well as terrorism,” it said.
It said the campaign would be used to promote the ratification, accession and use of the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products by all parties for the World Health Organisation framework convention on tobacco control and its early entry into force through the active involvement of stakeholders.