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Uganda bans smoking in public places

Do Not UseDo Not Use 19/05/2016
Ugandan man smoking: Smoking is not common in Uganda but the government wishes to discourage it further © AFP Smoking is not common in Uganda but the government wishes to discourage it further

Tough new laws on smoking and tobacco sales have come into force in Uganda.

People lighting up in bars, restaurants or hotels now face being fined $60 (£41) or jailed for up to two months.

And smokers must be at least 50 metres away from public spaces, such as schools, hospitals and taxi ranks.

The new laws also ban the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavoured tobacco for water pipes or shishas, which have become popular in clubs of the capital, Kampala.

In further anti-smoking measures, the government has banned the sale of single cigarettes and tightened rules on labelling, advertising and selling tobacco to under-21s.

Buying single cigarettes has previously been popular among less well-off smokers.


The government has said it does not anticipate jailing many people for breaking the new laws and that its mission is to prevent people smoking in the first place.

The BBC's Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says it is unclear how rigidly police will enforce the legislation, given the number of other crimes they have to deal with.

Our correspondent says smoking is not common in Uganda but the authorities have been concerned by the rise of health problems linked to tobacco use such as cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure.

The laws included in the Tobacco Control Act build on a ministerial directive from 2004, which restricted smoking in public.

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