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Enforce laws prohibiting smoking in public places

According to the 6th edition of the Tobacco Atlas report, an estimated one-fifth of males and one-third of females globally were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2016 alone.

It caused an estimated 884,000 deaths in the world in the same year.

The report also revealed that years of life lost due to ill-health, disability, or early death because of second-hand smoke was 6.4 million years for low respiratory infections, 2.5 million for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and more than 200,000 for the middle ear infection.

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The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) which Ghana is a signatory to, demands that all public places such as bars and restaurants should be completely smoke-free.

To effectively implement the WHO FCTC, Ghana enacted a National Tobacco Control Act, the Public Health Act 851, in 2012 which prohibited smoking in all public places.

The statistics   highlighted above are quite scary. And now we ask, to what extent have these laws been implemented and what are the law enforcement agencies doing to those who smoke freely on our streets?

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In 2015, a Ghanaian born US-based researcher led a team to conduct a research that confirmed that despite the passage of the law, implementation was not strict.

The findings revealed that 70 percent of public places across the country after the ban remained the same. Fifty percent of the managers were not aware of the tobacco control law, while 80 percent of the managers think tobacco control law is not properly enforced. 7

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Again, 70 percent of all smoking public places do not display ‘NO SMOKING’ signs.

This, thus  connote that though the Law has  been in existence for some time now  there is no enforcement, and even if there is enforcement, it is not strict.

 Public agenda would like to appeal to state agencies responsible for enforcing these laws to be up and doing.

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