Ministry of Health has come out to blame tobacco companies on the delayed tobacco law execution in the country.
The stringent The Tobacco Control Act was passed by Parliament in July 2015, and assented to by the President in September of the same year.
Hon Sarah Opendi the Minister of state for health said however, that government’s “hands were tied when it comes to implementing the law simply because tobacco companies have made it impossible for us”.
While speaking at the World No Tobacco day in Kampala Hon Sarah Opendi revealed that the they couldn’t enforce the law with pending suits in the courts of law.
“There is no way the government would enforce the law with pending suits in court but since we are now out of court, we can now enforce the law”.
The constitutional court recently kicked out a petition filed by cigarette makers BAT, which challenged parts of the new Tobacco Control Act on grounds that it violated their right to business.
The law among others requires manufactures to use 60% of the cigarette packets to carry health warnings.
“Currently cigarette packaging does not bear warning pictures or signs. Starting this year, this is going to change. All cigarettes sold on the market will be mandated to have big graphic images of the dangers associated with smoking. This is already done in some developed countries,” the minister said added.
The new regulations she said will also target foreigners.
“It’s very common to find tourists or foreign nationals smoking in open space. We are going to set up a campaign targeting this group right from the airport so that they know smoking in public is illegal in the country from the moment they enter,”.