- The Anti-Tobacco Network demands stronger political will to tackle the epidemic
- Botswana in top spot for the highest number of tobacco users in the region.
The results of a recent study launched by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, has revealed shocking rates of tobacco smoking in Botswana and exposure of non-smokers to toxic tobacco smoke that has created a public health emergency.
The study established the harsh fact of Botswana being the chimney of the SADC region in the top spot with the highest number of tobacco users in southern African.
The revelations have prompted the Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN) to call “the leadership of the country to acknowledge the crisis and show a much stronger political will to tackle the epidemic and reverse the tide by deploying appropriate public policy interventions and allocating adequate resources”.
Released on 17 December 2020, the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Country Report reveals frightening prevalence of tobacco use among adults aged 15 years and older in Botswana, making Batswana the highest tobacco users compared to any country that has carried out a similar study in the region.
Some of the shocking findings of the study are that about 1 out of 5 adults (240 000 adults) aged 15 years or older in Botswana are tobacco users and that 4 out of 5 adults who smoked cigarettes bought them as a single cigarette.
Another serious concern from this study is that nearly 2 out of 3 adults in Botswana are exposed to tobacco smoke in bars and night clubs.
“These findings provide the facts and evidence for immediate public policy attention as they amplify ATN Botswana’s previous calls for the government to urgently adopt a law that will reduce access to deadly tobacco products and make them less affordable,” said Professor Bontle Mbongwe of ATN in the wake of the report.