The Food and Drugs Authority has held a two day training on the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The training serves as a proactive measure to regulate the illegal trade of tobacco products, especially considering Ghana’s participation in the Illicit Trade Protocol. The Protocol does not only include strategies to counter illicit trade but also establishes a framework to enhance law enforcement and provides the legal foundation for international collaboration.
Dr. Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, Director, Tobacco and Substances of Abuse Directorate, highlighted that “The tobacco menace continues to pose a significant challenge globally.” She was however quick to add that “the issue is further worsened by the illicit trade in tobacco products, which not only makes tobacco more accessible at cheaper prices but also undermines the progress we have made so far as a country through tobacco control policies.”
Dr. Boateng further stated that the “training reflects Ghana’s commitment to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products, a commitment which is firmly in line with the WHO FCTC”.
In a speech delivered on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Baffour-Awuah, Ag. Director, Technical Coordination Directorate – MOH, pointed out that the training session, which was “dedicated to enhancing a collective understanding of the Protocol, was a testament to the collective dedication and determination to curb illicit trade in tobacco products”. “It also signifies the commitment to learning, collaboration, and the implementation of strategies that align with global standards”, Dr. Baffour-Awuah added.
The training included participants from Ghana Police Service, Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Academia, Civil Society, Economic and Organized Crime Office, National Intelligence Bureau and other stakeholder outfits who are relevant to the implementation of tobacco control from importation, through distribution, and its subsequent safe disposal.