New Internationalist

Pop tobacco control

January 2006

I hate the foul smell of your kiss
It leaves a bad smell on your clothes
It’s killing you and it’s killing us
We have to stop! The time is now
To ratify the Framework Convention
On Tobacco Control

These are the words from the pop song Stop! (Smoking), by Ugandan superstar Rachel Magoola, that got delegates dancing in the aisles at a tobacco control workshop in Nairobi last year. But charges from the campaign group ASH UK – that ‘the tobacco industry established inappropriate relationships with World Health Organization staff and consultants to influence policy, and the industry tried to interfere with WHO budgets related to its Tobacco OR Health (TOH) programme’ – must have had Ugandan delegates wondering.

In Uganda WHO funding is key to any tobacco control. The Ministry of Health has no funds for such activities. So in 2004 and 2005, without WHO funds, almost nothing was done to mark World No Tobacco Day.

Kevin O’Connor

This column was published in the January 2006 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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