- Ministry of Health is pushing for more tax on tobacco
By Sisay Sahlu
ADDIS ABBA – UN’s top health agency has recognized Ethiopian lawmakers for endorsing and rarifying a stringiest law on alcohol and tobacco.
Speaker of the lower house of Ethiopian parliament Tagese Chafo received a medal and certificate in front of the lawmakers on Tuesday.
The house passed the Food and Medicine Administration Proclamation early February, making Ethiopia one of the six countries in Africa with such legislation.
It has helped government’s push to restrict smoking in all indoor workplaces, public places and transport while prohibiting alcohol promotion on broadcasting in media.
The law regulates the content and product disclosure, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, import, advertisement, promotion and sponsorship related tobacco products in line with WHO frameworks.
After presenting the accolades, Dr. Paul Manuka, representatives of WHO in Ethiopia, has advised to follow the enforcement of the law effectively.
“It is critical for the house to support and follow-up pending policy decisions to increase taxation, ratify the protocol on elimination of tobacco illicit trade and adopt and implement measures,” he said.
Speaker Tagese, on his part, expressed delight with award and vowed to continue work smoke clear environment.
The house also announced that the HPR compound is “Tobacco Smoke-Free” as of Tuesday.
“Nature lets us to breathe clean and fresh air,” he said. “We don’t have to breathe carbon dioxide”.
Minster of health Amir Aman (PhD) still for more stringiest law, asking the lawmakers push for maximum effort to levy maximum excise tax on Tobacco products.
Price of Tobacco in other foreign countries is reaching up to 1.5 to 2 US dollar, but in Ethiopia it is about 0.54 US dollar per pack, according to the minster.
Three million Ethiopians smoke tobacco, but leaves additional 12 million more people are exposed as second smokers.