The fight against smoking has been long and rocky in Cameroon. With continuous interference from the tobacco industry, it had been extremely difficult to make progress in the struggle.
But some Members of Parliament in Cameroon are trying to make this be a story of the past. After visiting patients at the Jamot Hospital in Yaoundé, the law makers held a high level advocacy workshop on Wednesday 05 July 2017. The MPs, gathered under the umbrella of the Network of Parliamentarians for Tobacco Control, met at Cameroon's National Assembly to discuss tobacco control regulations in the country.
Opening the deliberations, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Emilia M. Lifaka highlighted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which Cameroon ratified in 2006. She urged the MPs to work hard so they could come up with fruitful recommendations that could help bring a draft tobacco control bill to the law makers.
Discussions at the seminar focused on the different types and components of tobacco products and their dangers to humans, the FCTC as a major tobacco control tool and a means to achieve the SDGs in the Cameroon, as well as activities carried out by the civil society (the Cameroonian Coalition for Tobacco Control) to push for better tobacco control policies in Cameroon.
After the discussions, the following recommendations were made;
They also visited patients suffering from tobacco-related illnesses at the Jamot Hospital in Yaoundé.
From that event, the following recommendations were made:
- Strengthen the regulatory framework through the adoption of the law
- Develop recommendations at the highest level to bring the law to parliament
- Prevent interference from the tobacco industry
- Strengthen tobacco control in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
- Include tobacco control in development plans
- Prioritize tobacco control in the country
- Prohibit smoking in public places
- Support the efforts of the civil society to contribute to the adoption and implementation of effective tobacco control policies
- Raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco, starting with children in the nursery and primary school
- Adopt a policy of establishing a license to market tobacco products