Botswana

A landlocked country in Southern Africa characterised by a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta, Botswana, with a population of approximately 2.3 million people, is at the verge of adopting a tobacco control law compliant with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Published on 12 March 2021, the Tobacco Control Bill, aims to repeal and re-enact the Control of Smoking Act (Cap. 65:04) to align it with the FCTC to which Botswana is a party.

Key facts on Botswana and the WHO FCTC.

-Date of FCTC signature: 16 June 2003
-Date of FCTC ratification: 31 January 2005
-Date of FCTC Entry into force: 01 May 2005

Key elements contained in the current bill include amongst others:

  • the establishment of a Tobacco Control Committee which shall provide oversight in the implementation of the provisions and exercise the powers conferred upon it;
  • the prohibition of smoking in all indoor workplaces, all indoor and outdoor public places and on all public transport where smoking would create a hazard;
  • the prohibition of advertising, promotion and sponsorship by the tobacco industry;
  •  adequate measures for packaging and labelling of tobacco products to inform customers of the numerous risks of tobacco use;
  • introduction of licenses to sell tobacco products. The Bill has been passed by Parliament and is currently being processed for presidential assent to become law. As would be expected by the tobacco control
According to the Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS), Botswana 2017;

• 17.6% (240,000) of adults use tobacco in any form (27.0% among men and 8.8% among women)
• 14.2% (190,000) of adults smoke tobacco (25.7% among men and 3.6% among women)
• Over 8 in 10 (82.2%) of current manufactured cigarette smokers purchased single sticks of cigarettes.
• The average (mean) monthly expenditure for manufactured cigarettes is 789.10 Botswana Pula (approximately 71 USD).
• Levels of exposure to second-hand smoke is as follows: 67.4 % in bars and nightclubs, 19.9 % in cafes, 16.9 % in restaurants, 16.3 % in universities, 12.9 % in schools, 8.5 % in government buildings, 7.5 % in public transport, and 6.5 % in healthcare facilities.
• 83.9% of current tobacco smokers planned to or were thinking about quitting. 57.8% of current tobacco smokers made a quit attempt in the past 12 months. 7% of smokers quit in the past 12 months.
• 27.8% noticed any cigarette advertisement, sponsorship, or promotion during the last 30 days
• 95.3% of adults believed smoking causes serious illness

community, the Bill has been the target of several attempts by entities that are undoubtedly tobacco industry allies, to prevent it from being passed. Members of Parliament are rejecting the bill, while entities like Business Botswana, the biggest private business advocacy body in the country has called on the Minister of Health to withdraw the bill from parliament. British American Tobacco Botswana, argues that “livelihoods will be impacted by cigarette sales in minimum packs of 20’s”. Some media organs requested that the government of Botswana consider suspending the process of making this law until it fully consults with the tobacco industry. These and many other efforts to sway public perception on tobacco control policy, no doubt necessitate urgent action and support to the tobacco control community in Botswana.
The good news, though, is that tobacco control actors have remained steadfast

and the bill is making good progress towards adoption. Recently, stakeholders, including government representatives, the WHO and civil society joined forces to endorse the bill which is expected to become law any time soon.

Tobacco control actors in Botswana deserve recognition for their resilience against tobacco industry efforts to weaken the bill and even prevent it from being adopted. Due to the irreconcilable conflict of interest that exist between them, the FCTC recommends that the tobacco industry be excluded from all discussions related to the formulation of tobacco control policies. Being a party to the FCTC, Botswana has an obligation to abide by this requirement.

The world is watching Botswana at this moment. The country must put the health of the people above the interest of the tobacco industry and adopt the tobacco control bill.

Produced by: The African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA)

The African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) is a non-profit, non-political Pan-African network of civil society organizations headquartered in Lome, Togo. With membership in 39 countries, ATCA is dedicated to promoting public health and preventing the tobacco epidemic in the continent.

 

PUBLICATIONS ON THIS SUBJECT

  1. Public Smoking To Be Banned

Published by: Global Post Newspaper – The World Revealed

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/globalpostnewspaper/photos/a.419863141727530/1433000823747085/

  1. Unique Voices Behind the Tobacco Control Bill

Published by: The Parrot News Online

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=515638252852357&ref=watch_permalink

  1. Public Smoking to be Banned

Published by: The Gabz News Online

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/thegabznews/posts/591308822273767

  1. Sale Of Cigarettes to Require Permits

Published by:  The Gabz News Online

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/thegabznews/posts/591300368941279

  1. The Real Voices Behind the Tobacco Control Bill

Published by: The Voice Newspaper Botswana

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/TheVoiceBW/videos/564514201388963

  1. The Anti-tobacco Network Fully Advocates For Tobacco Control Bill

Published by: Duma FM

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/DumaFM/posts/5944213742315403

  1. Voices of Tobacco Control

Published by: INK24

Date of publication: August 3rd 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/ink24media/videos/326547335865629

  1. In Parliament Today

Published by: The Argus Online

Date of publication: August 4th 2021

Link: https://web.facebook.com/argusonlineBW/posts/906627719945584

  1. Smoke free, not Risk Free

Published by: Weekend Post

Date of publication: August 9th 2021

Link: https://www.weekendpost.co.bw/31816/news/smoke-free-not-risk-free/