Namibia's laws do not currently regulate new and emerging tobacco products such as hubbly bubbly, vapes, and e-cigarettes.

The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Utjiua Muinjangue, has called on stakeholders to address the gaps as they propose amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Act.

Stakeholders have gathered at Swakopmund to identify gaps and review the Tobacco Products Act.

Despite the introduction of the law in 2010, there is still an increase in tobacco product use among communities, especially among youth.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) estimates that 31% of youth aged 13 to 15 use tobacco products.

Furthermore, second-hand smoke exposure among the same age group is 49% in public spaces, while 38% is exposed at home.

"Every year, there are over 1000 smoking-related deaths, even though fewer men and women die on average in Namibia, while in low and middle-income countries, about 13 men and 6 women die from smoking-related causes weekly. We have seen an increase in the use of novel tobacco and nicotine products. Those novel products are not the known traditional cigarettes, yet they are marketed as less harmful than traditional cigarettes and tobacco smoking," said Muinjangue.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the current Act of 2010 plays a crucial role in protecting the health of citizens.

Its implementation has led to a reduction in the smoking rates of adults and has helped protect non-smokers from harmful effects.

However, the WHO indicates that the industry continues to target vulnerable populations, such as youth and low-income communities, with aggressive marketing tactics.

WHO has prioritised Namibia as one of the countries that will be supported financially and technically for four years when it comes to law reform and implementation.


Photo Credits
The Hindu


Renate Rengura