Ghana to complete ratification of Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Tobacco Trade

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Ghana is in the process of completing the ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.

The Protocol is an international treaty with the objective of eliminating all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products through a set of measures to be taken by countries, acting in cooperation with each other.

Ghana is an eligible party to the protocol by extending its adherence to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Dr Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, Head of the Department of Tobacco and Substance Abuse, Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and WHO FCTC Technical Focal Person for Tobacco Control in Ghana, said that in accordance with WHO FCTC stipulations, Parliament had considered and adhered to the provisions. of the Protocol.

She noted that the Protocol had not yet received Presidential approval, after which it would be deposited with the United Nations Secretariat for it to enter into force.

Dr Boateng said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the Tobacco Control Capacity Program (TCCP), dissemination and engagement meeting in Accra hosted by the School of Public Health of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

She said the Protocol on Illicit Trade in Tobacco was an important milestone in the history of tobacco control and underlined the relevance of the protocol, especially in securing the supply chain of tobacco products at the national and global levels. .

Dr Boateng said Ghana has taken many steps to regulate the tobacco products supply chain in the country, including regulatory oversight of tobacco company registration, imports, sales and the supply of tobacco through inspections and other surveillance activities.

Various requirements have also been established to facilitate the identification of legal tobacco products on the market.

She said: “These are all measures taken to control the infiltration of our market by illicit tobacco products. For example, the labeling of tobacco products destined for the Ghanaian market should include “FOR SALE IN GHANA ONLY”, emission statements and pictorial health warnings validated for use in Ghana. “

She also said the protocol contains recommendations for countries to advance their laws to ensure that the illicit tobacco trade is stopped.

Dr Boateng said the Protocol contains a series of measures to combat the distribution of illicit trade in three categories: preventing illicit trade, promoting law enforcement and providing a legal basis for companies. international.

She said that for it to be effective, the Protocol provided for intensive engagement and cooperation of international and local stakeholders; therefore, stakeholder engagement and support for the Tobacco Threat Initiative was critical to its successful implementation in Ghana.

Dr Boateng said the FDA, in collaboration with Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), hosted an interagency meeting to facilitate discussions on the domestication of the protocol and commended stakeholders.

She said that the outcomes of the inter-agency meeting were essential elements that were incorporated into the development of a roadmap towards the implementation of the protocol in Ghana.

The tobacco control program is funded by grants from Research Councils UK under the Global Challenges Research Fund, launched in 2018.

It is led by Professor Linda Bauld of the University of Edinburgh and involves academics at six UK universities and eight research organizations in Africa and South Asia, including the Medical Research Council (MRC), Gambia Unit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

The program is expected to end in December 2021.

The aim of the TCCP is to improve research capacity in low and middle income countries such as Ghana to conduct high quality studies that will generate evidence on how to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by smoking. and advancing key development priorities.

TCCP-Ghana to date has carried out two major research studies; smoke-free policy and illicit tobacco trade under the leadership of Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, KNUST and Principal Investigator for the TCCP in Ghana.

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