SIERRA LEONE – Sierra Leone has introduced the Tobacco and Nicotine Control Act of 2022 after the bill was unanimously passed into law on 3 August 2022 by the country’s law makers.

The Tobacco and Nicotine Control Act of 2022 seeks to control and regulates the production, manufacturing, importation, packaging and labeling, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, sale and use of tobacco, tobacco products and other nicotine products in Sierra Leone.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sierra Leone becomes the 38th country with tobacco control laws in the WHO African region to have enacted a bill into law to protect its population against the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine products.

Tobacco is the leading cause of premature deaths and preventable disease burden in the world, tobacco kills half of all long-term smokers from many different nontransmissible or noncommunicable diseases.

Once assented to by the President, the country will go into full implementation of the provisions of this public health instrument to protect people from the health, social and economic burdens associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco products, “WHO reports.

The public health organization explained that the law takes cognizance of all forms of tobacco and nicotine products including the emerging forms of tobacco such as e-cigarettes, noting that the Act bans all manner of smoking in public places and all forms of advertisement of tobacco and nicotine products.

WHO has been working very closely with the Government Sierra Leone, the civil society and the different partners that have supported the process over the years for the development of such comprehensive tobacco control regulations.

Dr Steven Velabo Shongwe, WHO Representative in Sierra Leone said that WHO will continue to support the next steps to develop the implementation strategies and guidelines, public education for increased awareness of the law to ensure compliance.

Dr Steven Velabo Shongwe further said that the United Nations agency has partnered with the Government Sierra Leone, the civil society and the different partners to provide strategic technical assistance to build required capacities of the essential institutions

In addition, the collaborative partners will help mobilize resources for effective implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the law at a time when tobacco users and the prevalence of smoking is on the increase mainly among young people, despite its well-known harmful effects on health.

Effective implementation of the provisions of this Act will promote public health, enhance human capital development towards preventive measures against initiating tobacco use as well as support current tobacco users to quit and protect non-smokers.

Enactment of the bill brings into force the full domestication of the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), a treaty that was adopted at the World Health Assembly in 2003,” WHO said.

The enactment of the bill comes shortly after Sierra Leone ratified the widely embraced global treaty in 2009, among other countries in Africa, to foster the protection and promotion of public health against the global tobacco epidemic.

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