The Northwest administration has ordered councils to ban smoking in public places and ordered that defaulters should be slammed a heavy fine.
The instruction was echoed by the Secretary General at the Northwest Governor’s Office, AbsolomMononoWoloa, while presiding over the 10th anniversary of the Cameroon Coalition to Counter Tobacco.
According to him,the move is intended to reduce the dangers of global tobacco epidemic that kills over six million people annually, including over 600,000 others who die because of exposure to second-hand smoking. Woloa said the councils should first engage in mass sensitisation campaign of the population, after which, any culprits caught smoking publicly will bell the cat.
He was speaking at the BamendaI Council Chambers recently.The Council is the first in the Northwest Region to have banned smoking in public places.The SG praised the efforts of the Mayor, Caroline Bongwa and the DO,Viang Nguele, for being pacesetters in saving Cameroonians from the devastating effects of public smoking. “Let the other 33 Councils emulate the example of Bamenda I so that nobody in the Northwest would be caught smoking in public.”
Woloa also thanked the Cameroon Coalition Against Tobacco for the choice of Bamenda I Subdivision to launch their 10th anniversary celebrations. On her part, Mayor Caroline Bongwa said it is not by chance that the Coalition Against Tobacco chose Bamenda I Council to launch its anniversary activities.
According to the Mayor, her Council is the first smoke-free Council in Cameroon. She lauded the efforts of the Coalition Against Tobacco in fighting hard to eradicate the detrimental health effects of smoking on Cameroonians. Quoting the World Health Organisation, WHO, Mayor Bongwa said, tobacco consumption is the only legal consumer product that kills its users and those around them.
“Tobacco does not only kill, but it strongly hinders the health and quality of life of smokers and non-smokers.” On what prompted her to ban smoking in her municipality, she said: “Tobacco causes a lot of sadness and desolation in families and the community; that is why our Council decided and through a Sub-Prefectural Decision of March 26, 2015,we prohibited smoking in all public places in the municipality,making us the first council in the country to take and implement such a decision. Through this act, we became a smoke-free council.
“We can say, without doubt, that it has not been a lone effort, but with the concerted action of our stakeholders, wehave been able to achieve this important milestone to improve on our health situation,” she averred. The President of the Cameroon Coalition Against Tobacco, C3T, Dr. Flore Ndembiyembe, said by banning smoking in public places,the Council is implementing Article 8 of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that was ratified by Cameroon in 2006.
“This ratification reflects the will of His Excellency, Paul Biya, to preserve the health of the population, particularly the youths, and the future of our nation.” She said, today,BamendaI is a smoke-free place like New York in the US and Beijing in China. By banning smoking, these cities protect their population from diseases, disability and death related to tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure.
Tobacco, she went on, is the leading shared risk factor for the four main types of non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular diseases like heart attack and stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.