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Illicit Tobacco Trade: EOCO, WHO to tackle menace

The Executive Director of the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) COP Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo-Danquah has reiterated the commitment of her outfit to working with other bodies to ensure that laws governing tobacco trade are complied with to the letter.

She noted that illicit tobacco trade poses a challenge as other criminal economic activities could be perpetrated through it.

COP Addo-Danquah made the remarks when a seven-member delegation made up of  officials of World Health Organisation (WHO) Frame work Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat (FCTC), Geneva, Switzerland and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) interacted with officials of EOCO on Monday September 18, 2023.

The discussion centered on how law enforcement strategies could be adopted in Ghana’s fight against illicit tobacco trade and other challenges in tackling illicit the canker.

Head of the Tobacco and Substance Abuse Department of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs. Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, who was part of the delegation, disclosed that the FDA is engaged in a needs assessment to determine the extent of the illicit trade and how to tackle it head-on from its regulatory framework.

Speaker after speaker underscored the dangers posed by illicit trade in tobacco and why the menace ought to be dealt with through the active collaborations of all stakeholders.

The Coordinator and Development Assistant of FCTC, Andrew Black added that despite the profitable nature of illicit tobacco trade, there is a huge global problem with trading illicit tobacco and its risk is large. The Technical Coordinator for Tobacco Control at WHO, Dr. William Maina reiterated the dangers of  Tobacco use, stressing that it is very addictive and one of the causes of the most non-communicable diseases like cancer.

He bemoaned the unwavering efforts placed on reducing demand, purchase and distribution but not much to reduce the supply. He added that uncertified tobacco is detrimental to one’s health.

Present at the meeting were Dr. Joana Ansong, WHO country representative for Non-Communicable Diseases and other officials of World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Secretariat, the UNDP, and some Unit Heads of EOCO.

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