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Medic Prescribes National Tobacco Control Law 

By Nelen Tambe — The President of the Cameroon Coalition against Tobacco, Dr. Flore Ndembiyembe, has called for a tobacco control legislation in Cameroon in order to improve public health in the country. 

In an interview in Yaounde recently, Dr. Ndembiyembe asserted that tobacco control laws should be put in place and enforced to help reduce tobacco consumption thus reducing its social acceptability. It will also ensure the protection of non-smokers and discourage frequent use of cigarette products, she held. This, she noted, explains the petition which everyone is called upon to sign.

“The aim of this petition is to convince law makers through the Ministry of Public Health to adopt a law that will control consumption, sales and publicity of cigarettes in the country,” she said.
“In developed countries, there are legislations that protect the people. Now, in Cameroon and other African countries, there is no law to control the culture of consumption, and selling of tobacco,” she observed. To Ndembiyembe, the lack of such legislation gives access to children at early ages to be in possession of cigarettes.

According to her, a comprehensive tobacco control legislation expresses society’s values, creates focus of activity, control private conduct and also spares the economy of suffering from increased health-care costs and decreased productivity. She observed that walking down the streets and towns of the nation, smokers are spotted at different angles such as drinking spots, transport vehicles, schools, hospital courtyards and other public areas.

In the streets, a man dressed in a suit, holding a suitcase or a student in uniform is seen smoking. The question that arises is what education and moral values people exhibit in public.
According to a Yaounde inhabitant, William Towa, there is an urgent need for the Government to implement measures that will restrict public smoking. He added that with this restriction, non-smokers like him will be free from diseases that one contracts by being near someone smoking.

A petty trader, Giselle Belli, holds that; “A law needs to be implemented to stop smokers from smoking in public places.” A smoker, Antoine Kegne, said; “I smoke in public because I know there are no restrictions. If restrictions are put in place now, I would likely stop smoking in public places. It would also help me reduce my rate of smoking.

First published in The Post print edition no 01479”

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