TOBACCO USE KILLS—CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

A  Clinical psychologist and member of the Coalition of  Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) in Health, Mr Nortey Dua, has  described tobacco as the only consumable which kills the user at the end.

Mr Duah, who was speaking at a Pictorial Health Warning Exhibition on Tobacco Packages organised by Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) in Accra, recommended the adoption of tobacco control regulations which, he said, would enable Government protect the citizenry from the deadly and economically devastating use and smoke.

He said packaged warnings had the capacity to be seen many times per day and should, therefore, be adopted to help curb the menace of tobacco use.

The Executive Director of VALD, Mr Issah Ali, noted that Ghana, after ratifying the International Tobacco Treaty in November 2004, government was obliged to implement the recommended   graphical and pictorial health warnings on tobacco products and packs after three years.

However, Mr Ali said, Ghana had missed the deadline of November 2007 and could not afford to further delay implementation of the recommendation if it was to ensure that more lives were not lost through tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.

He said countries that ratified the treaties were required to ensure that the location of the health warnings and messages were visible at the top front and back of the tobacco package, covering about 75 percent to 80 percent of the principal display area and should also be coloured.

Among the enormous benefits of pictorial health warnings on tobacco, he said, were serving as a source of information on the consequences, addictive nature and moral threat posed by its consumption to the user.

For his part, the Programmes Director of VALD, Mr Labram Musah, said the vim of the pictorial health warnings exhibition was to prepare the Ghanaian population, especially smokers, to appreciate the importance of pictorial health warnings on tobacco.

Mr Musah said pictures were especially important in counties with low literacy or where smokers were ignoring text only warning labels.

He disclosed that 85 countries had finalised requirements for pictorial health warning labels printed on packages of cigarette while in Africa, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Djibouti, Egypt, Seychelles, Chad, Namibia, and Madagascar had all implemented pictorial health warnings on tobacco packages.

Source: ISD (Nana Ama Bonnah)