In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Cameroonian Cardiology Society, and with the support of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), the Cameroon Coalition for Tobacco Control (C3T) initiated a series of activities aimed at contributing to the attainment of the objectives of World No Tobacco Day (WTDD), notably: to highlight the links between tobacco products and heart diseases, and to raise public awareness on the impact of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke on cardiovascular health. These goals are based on the theme: « Tobacco Break Hearts, » chosen by the World Health Organization on the occasion of the 31st edition of World No Tobacco Day.
To commemorate the event, C3T focused on educating people on the harmful effects of smoking. It was through a media campaign featuring experts on Radio and TV programmes as well as the broadcasting of radio communiqués. The various communication gadgets produced are also in line with these awareness-raising activities. The aim is to inform the population about the text on graphic health warnings and to increase public awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco.
The celebration of World No Tobacco Day also offered C3T the opportunity to carry out advocacy towards policy makers for the adoption of laws and regulations on tobacco control in Cameroon. It is specifically a question of pursuing the advocacy with the political decision-makers to ensure the implementation of the regulatory text on graphic health warning and the adoption of the regulations concerning advertising, promotion, sponsorship and protection of the school environment from the activities of the tobacco industry.
All activities selected for World No Tobacco Day in Cameroon are based on the national context. This is marked by a high prevalence of smoking amongst young people (10% of the school going population aged 13 to 15), an intense advertising, commercial and marketing activity of the tobacco industry geared at recruiting new smokers, especially amongst the youth, the absence of adequate regulations and the non-application of existing ones by the various actors concerned and, in general, the weakness of the legal framework in the area of tobacco control in Cameroon and ignorance of social, health, economic and environmental harm of tobacco use by a majority of the population.
The national context is also marked by the recent adoption of a regulatory text on graphic health warning (Joint Ministerial Order No. 0001 / Minsanté / Mincommerce of January 3, 2018 laying down the conditions for packaging and labeling of tobacco products); and the pursuing of advocacy for the adoption other texts, particularly those related to the prohibition of all forms of tobacco advertising and the protection of the educational from commercial and marketing activities of the tobacco industry.