Rwanda: New Law to Protect Passive Smokers

Passive smoking is one of the critical issues the law governing tobacco control will address once enacted.

According to research, passive smoking can be as dangerous and lead to fatal diseases, including lung and breast cancers; brain tumours; ear, nose, and throat infections and heart disease.

Passive Smoking

A smoker with a cigarette and a passive smoker in a smoke-protecting mask

During a session of Parliament last week, most law makers rationalised the health risks to passive smokers as the motive behind banning smoking from workplaces, public spaces, including restaurants, bars and night clubs.

Gedeon Kayinamura said the bill is long overdue as tobacco smoking is among the top causes of deaths in the world, “even more than AIDS, and other diseases”.

According to Dr. Bonaventure Nzeyimana, an expert in Policy Formulation And Tobacco Control, in the Ministry of Health, there are no proper statistics on tobacco-induced deaths in Rwanda.

He, however, observed that there is an increase in tobacco-related diseases in hospitals, and strategies must be laid to discourage people from.

“We must protect women and children,” Dr. Nzeyimana said. “There are husbands who smoke from their living rooms yet there is a child and wife who don’t smoke”.

The bill contains many aspects of tobacco regulation, including advertising. The motion was adjourned to an undisclosed date.

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