Accra, April 29, GNA – The Vision for
Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization, has held a
pictorial health warnings (PHWs) exhibition with a call on Ghanaians to
actively participate in the fight against tobacco use.
The exhibition is to prepare the Ghanaian population, especially smokers to appreciate the importance of PHWs on tobacco or cigarette packs.
Mr Issah Ali, the Executive Director of VALD, said research has showed that PHWs on cigarette packages draw attention and was more likely to be remembered.
He said pictures were important in countries with low literacy or where research shows smokers were ignoring text-only warning labels and that the implementation of a pictorial warning label policy presents no financial cost to countries.
“Currently Ghana is implementing text-only warnings on cigarette packs and that; “Ghana has multiple languages, therefore, text-only warning is not ideal for Ghana. We need PHWs,” Mr Ali said.
He said tobacco was the number one leading cause of preventable deaths in the world today.
“Globally, countries are formulating policies to effectively control the use of tobacco and that research has showed that women and children are the most affected by the drug,” he said.
The Executive Director said at least 85 countries have finalized requirements for pictorial health warnings labels printed on packages of cigarettes and, in some cases, other tobacco products such as cigars, waterpipes, smokeless tobacco products, and loose tobacco.
Mr Labram Musah, Programmes Director of VALD, said there is the need to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco use and the need for the adoption of the Tobacco Control Legislative Instrument, hence the PHW exhibition.
“This is to prepare Ghanaians especially smokers to appreciate the importance of PHWs on tobacco packages.
The VALD and its key partners in tobacco control commended the Ministry of Health and its departments and agencies for completing the draft Tobacco Control Regulations.
They applauded the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation for considering the draft Tobacco Control Regulations proposed by the Health Ministry for the implementation of the Public Health Act, 2012 (ACT 851).
“These regulations will enable the Government of Ghana to protect its citizens from the deadly and economically devastating consequences of tobacco use and smoke and that will fulfill the international legal obligations it undertook when it ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) 12 years ago, November 29, 2004.
Madam Joana Anson from the World Health Organisation said pictures were powerful and inexpensive which could stick to the minds of people.
She assured the VALD of the WHO support and urged them to continue with their public education on tobacco control and to save the lives of Ghanaians from the tobacco menace.
Mr Dennis Okantey, the Chairman of the occasion, said Ghana has made significant strides on the FCTC and expressed gratitude to the VALD for the role it continues to play to enforce the convention.
He said each and everyone has a role to play and therefore called on Ghanaians to get actively involved in the fight against the use and smoking of tobacco to prevent the alarming rate of non-communicable diseases in the country.