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‘High tobacco taxation will increase revenue generation’

-says Director of Non-communicable Diseases

May 31, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Sierra Leone will today (May 31, 2017) join other countries around the world to observe this year’s World No Tobacco Day on the theme: “Tobacco- a treat to development”.

The day was set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to highlight the health and additional risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

During a presser hosted in the conference room of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Director of Non-communicable Diseases, Dr. Alie Wurie, stated that high taxation on tobacco will help to increase revenue generation, thereby reducing its demand in the market.

He said smoking of tobacco brings with it additional risks, which was why they were working round the clock to have a legislation in place to protect non-smokers and also increase taxes.

“Tobacco control can help break the circle of poverty and combat climate change in the country. We will achieve universal health coverage by increasing taxes on tobacco,” he said and added that tobacco can harm children and those who don’t smoke.

According to him, there are around 890,000 deaths from secondhand smoke every year worldwide, as well as significant impacts on health.

Even though it would be difficult to stop people from smoking because it is legal, Dr. Wurie disclosed that a bill has been drafted and already been approved by Cabinet to protect the lives of nonsmokers, especially children.

“It is not only governments who can end the scourge of tobacco. People and communities can also contribute to creating a tobacco free Sierra Leone and commit to never take up or stop using tobacco products,” he noted.

Sierra Leone is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco (FCTC), which aims to help countries tackle tobacco’s negative impact on development.

Also, Aminata Kobie from WHO spoke about the dangers associated with the use of tobacco and opined that tobacco related deaths result in lost economic opportunities.

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