The Anti Tobacco Network (ATN) Executive Director Dr Bontle Mbongwe says this year’s
theme for the World No Tobacco Day Commemoration has come at the right time for
Botswana as it speaking to key issues currently surrounding tobacco control in Botswana.
The commemoration is themed ‘Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing
them from tobacco and nicotine use’. In her response to the theme Dr Mbongwe highlighted
that it is a call to the government of Botswana to fast track the passing and implementation of
the long awaited tobacco control bill in order to protect young people from the dangers of
The tobacco industry has taken advantage of the absence of a comprehensive tobacco control
law and has lured many young people into using new tobacco products such as Hubbly
bubbly and e cigarettes. These products which are colourfully branded to attract young people
are aggressively marketed on social media as safer tobacco products.
"What a relevant theme for Botswana, a country captured by the tobacco industry to the
extent that a law that has been developed for over 10 years ago, that could save so many lives
from #NCDs, #poverty has been shelved whilst less urgent laws have been enacted at the
speed of light, overnight! I pray that this coming May 31st we will hear a new language at t he
World No Tobacco Day by the new minister that the New Masisi Government has expedited
and urgently adopted a comprehensive tobacco control law, said Dr Mbongwe.
The Executive Director added that Botswana has allowed the tobacco industry to normalize
the use of tobacco even among the youth and children, as almost all street vendors near
schools sell tobacco products even to students.
“Who in this country can deny that we have normalised tobacco use and smoking to the
extent that parents find it okay for their children, even under the age of 5 to dine and play in a
restaurant that has located a children's play area in a smoking area? Who can deny that even
the current law, which restricts smoking in public places, is poorly enforced in the eyes of all
of us including the law makers?” she asked.
The World No Tobacco Day 2020 global campaign will serve to:
Debunk myths and expose manipulation tactics employed by the tobacco and nicotine
industries, particularly marketing tactics targeted at youth, including through the
introduction of new and novel products, flavours and other attractive features;
Equip young people with knowledge about the tobacco and nicotine industries’
intentions and tactics to hook current and future generations on tobacco and nicotine
Empower influencers (in pop culture, on social media, in the home, or in the
classroom) to protect and defend youth and catalyze change by engaging them in the
fight against Big Tobacco.
Anti Tobacco Network