By Ronald Kabuye
A new study on the health cost of tobacco in Uganda has put an average total medical cost of the current and former smokers suffering from tobacco attributable disease at ugx 3,697,255(USD 1,422) which is 2.28 times the annual average medical cost of a never smoker which stand at 1,619,309(USD 622.8) excluding health costs of patients managed abroad.
The study titled the health cost of tobacco use in Uganda 2017 conducted by centre for tobacco control in Africa CTCA has been launched by the health minister Jane Ruth Aceng, state minister for housing and urban development Chris Baryomunsi and World Health Organisation national representative Abdulaei Jack at the commemoration of world no tobacco day under the theme tobacco affecting development at Serena hotel.
The same report also revealed that Uganda government incurs 108.05 billion shillings (USD 41.56) on treating tobacco related illness while the indirect costs of loss of income and productivity from death and disability stands at 328.82 billion shillings (USD 126.48M)
The study suggests that the best way to improve public health is by reducing tobacco use and in this government should adopt a relatively Simple tobacco excise tax structures that emphasis spefic taxes and include regular tax increase.
The data was extracted from the medical records of 353 patients, of which 189 were male and 164 are female and the mean age of the patients was 50 years.
About percentage 63 were from central, followed by western and eastern region with 13 each, northern had 6 while those from outside Uganda were 5 percent.
On his behalf as the guest of honor for the world no tobacco day the state minister for housing and urban development Dr. Chris Baryomunsi applauded the researchers for coming up with such useful report before pledging to facility its presentation to the President, cabinet and parliament since that’s where decisions are taken.
Baryomunsi said that government is fully committed to strengthen tobacco taxation policy, capacity for tobacco control, Non communicable diseases NCD prevention by employing more medical staff and continue sensitising the public about the dangers of tobacco
He further cautioned public officers against dealing with Tobacco industry since once found they will prosecuted in accordance with the Tobacco Control Act 2015.
He also wants tobacco to be ban other than just controlling it, he equated the tobacco Promoters and sponsors to terrorists arguing that it has got no benefit other than people enjoying it as it also happily kills.
It is also proven that tobacco cuts the life of the users by atleast 18 years.