• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
businessday logo


Inspiring success story: Ethiopia’s resolve for public health against big tobacco

Inspiring success story: Ethiopia’s resolve for public health against big tobacco

…Captured in video series by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has announced the launch of a new storytelling series highlighting Ethiopia’s successful battle against fierce opposition from big tobacco.

With a five percent smoking prevalence rate in 2016, the country’s enactment of one of Africa’s strongest tobacco control laws in place is a major victory for public health.

“This is a monumental achievement that demonstrates the power of unity and political will in protecting public health,” said Bintou Camara, Regional Director, Africa Programs of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

“Ethiopia’s success serves as an inspiration for other governments in the region to take action against big tobacco.”
The series launch coincides with the recent publication of a study that documents how Ethiopia adopted a tobacco control law based on the WHO Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The study reveals that when health advocates work closelywith government officials, providing education, generating local evidence and incorporating media advocacy activities, it can serve to strengthen the lawmaking
process and shut out industry attempts to weaken the laws.

The new video series captures the journey of Ethiopia’s tobacco control campaign, and features key stakeholders who played crucial roles in advocating for and supporting the passage of WHO FCTC-compliant tobacco control legislation. Gatefield, the company
responsible for producing the documentary, is a public strategy and media group that works to create social change.

The filming process involved interviewing key stakeholders from the government, the Ethiopian Food and Drug Administration (EFDA) and civil society actors.

The process offered first-hand insight into the implementation of Ethiopia’s tobacco control law, known as one of the strongest in Africa. Some aspects of this law include 100 percent smoke-free spaces, a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, a ban on flavored tobacco products and an increase of the legal smoking age to 21.

By sharing valuable insights and lessons learned, this series aims to empower health advocates and government officials across Africa to stand up against industry efforts to undermine progress for public health.

In stating lessons that other African nations can learn, Heran Gerba, Director General of the Ethiopia Food and Drug administration, stated that “Tobacco industry interference can only be effectively countered by strong, committed political leadership.”

She maintained that “governments should have a clear vision and a common goal for the kind of tobacco
control law they want to see and work collectively to see it through.”

As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing tobacco use and its deadly consequences worldwide, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is dedicated to supporting countries like Ethiopia in their fight against big tobacco.

Through initiatives like this storytelling series, the organisation hopes to inspire greater advocacy efforts in Africa and beyond.