• May 21, 2024

Alarm About Illicit Cigarettes in Ghana

 Alarm About Illicit Cigarettes in Ghana
Photo: Dietmar Temps

One in every five cigarettes in Ghana is illicit, reports Business Ghana, citing research conducted by Arti Singh, a faculty member of the School of Public Health at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

The study revealed that close to half of illicit tobacco products originate in neighboring Togo. In the border town of Aflao, more than 90 percent of packs studied turned out to be illicit.

Singh attributed the prevalence of illegal stock to porous borders and low awareness among stakeholders, among other factors.

Out of 384 retailers interviewed, close to half were unaware of illicit tobacco. A third was unaware of tobacco control laws on illicit products.

The study recommended the implementation of a track-and-trace system, enforcement of restrictions on single-stick sales and the implementation and enforcement of an illicit tobacco protocol. Ghana is in the process ratifying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, according to Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, head of the country’s tobacco and substance abuse department at the food and drugs authority.

The study also suggested educational campaigns to inform retailers on tobacco control laws and illicit tobacco products.

The illicit tobacco trade study was carried out as part of the Tobacco Control Capacity Program, which aims to improve research capacity in low-income and middle-income countries and conduct high-quality studies that will generate evidence on how to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use. 

Led by Professor Linda Bauld from the University of Edinburgh, the program is funded by a grant from Research Councils U.K.