The WHO Africa Gates Tobacco Control Project was officially launched in Cameroon on December 8, 2021, to support government efforts in the fight against tobacco consumption.
For Cameroonian authorities, the goal is to reduce that consumption by 30% by 2025.
“Let’s all of us join hands to fight tobacco consumption,” called out Solange Kouakap, the Ministry of Public Health’s Inspector General of Pharmaceutical Services and Laboratories at the launch of the Gates project.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, tobacco consumption is now a global epidemic. So, it urges to help willing people stop smoking and protect the population against tobacco smoke.
However, the popularity of electronic cigarettes (despite the serious diseases like cancers and respiratory diseases caused by smoking) makes the fight difficult, the ministry informs.
According to a survey carried out in 2013 by Solange Kouakap, close to 9 % of the Cameroonian population aged 15 years and above smokes with about 37% of them being passive smokers.
“When it comes to less than 15-year-old residents, the proportion of smokers rose to 15.2% with higher prevalence in schools. Forty-four percent of the students below age 15 have once smoked and 5% of 7-year-old students have once smoked… (...) The deaths caused by tobacco yearly in Cameroon are estimated at 66,000,” the survey concluded.
The extend of tobacco consumption contrasts with the government’s efforts in fighting the scourge. Those efforts include the health warnings on cigarette packs and the ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products in 2020.
The implementation of the WHO Africa Gates Tobacco Control Project could facilitate the adoption of an appropriate tobacco taxation scheme aimed at increasing the taxes paid on those products and efficiently fighting illicit trades involving such products.