ATN Calls on Gov’t to Ban Smoking In Public Places

ATN Calls on Gov’t to Ban Smoking In Public Places

The Anti Tobacco Network (ATN) has called on government to ban smoking in public places 
as Botswana continues to fight cancer.
Speaking at this year’s Cancer Day Commemoration in Mochudi on 4
th
February, themed “I 
Am and I Will”, ATN Programs Manager Mr Thabo Katlholo highlighted that the World 
Health Organization estimates that approximately 700 million, or almost half, of the world's 
children are exposed to second-hand smoke and in spite of what science tells us, however, in 
many places in this country, particularly restaurants and bars, it is considered acceptable to 
smoke, and so rude and unaccommodating to protest against second-hand smoke.
He added that tobacco not only imperils the health of those who are actively smoking but also 
those around them who breathe the smoke, stating that second hand smoke is responsible for 
at least 600,000 deaths a year among non-smokers, with more than six in ten deaths due to 
heart disease.
“Today, on this very important day, we are calling for a ban on smoking in public places. A 
ban that offers a comprehensive solution to keeping the air clean and safe for all people, both 
smokers and non-smokers. A ban that puts emphasis on people's right to health and helps to 
make smoking the exception rather than the norm,” he pleaded.
In addition, Mr Katlholo noted that Botswana is faced with another challenge of tobacco 
marketing. He revealed that in a recent situation analysis undertaken by ATN in 2018; over 
half street vendors located near schools sell tobacco products.  Furthermore, there is a sale of 
cigarette sweets in some kiosks near schools. Also some children were seen buying 
cigarettes. Mr Katlholo also indicated that any effort that targets children to start tobacco at 
an early age is breeding cancer and other non-communicable diseases. 
According to Mr Katlholo, this year’s theme, ‘I Am and I Will’ is “an empowering call to 
action, not only is this theme empowering all of us to show support, raise our collective 
voice, take personal action and press our governments to do more, but it also calls upon 
individuals to make a personal commitment to help reduce the impact of cancer. The theme 
further acknowledges that everyone has the capacity to address the cancer burden. Through 
concerted effort, we can reduce cancer risk factors as well as overcoming barriers to early 
diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. Through team work, we can improve cancer control 
and achieve the national target to reduce premature mortality from cancer and other NCDs,” 
The Programs Manager further stated that ATN has heeded the call and is ready to support 
individuals, the community and the Government in tackling cancer. 
“We continue to be advocates and shall continue to speak out to remind all citizens of this 
country to stand up against the monstrous impact of tobacco use in our society. The one 
lethal product commonly available in our streets, near schools and even in our health care 
facilities and in homes. Yet evidence is clear, that tobacco use is the one risk factor common 
to the four main groups of NCDs — cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and 
diabetes. Tobacco is so readily available, yet scientific evidence shows that it causes at least 
16 different types of cancer, it is closely associated with lung cancer, the world’s leading 
cause of cancer deaths, accounting for nearly one in five cancer deaths. Tobacco is easily and 
readily available in Botswana, yet it causes several cancers of the throat and oral cavity, as 
well as cancer in diverse sites, such as the bladder, kidney, stomach and uterine cervix,” 
highlighted Mr Katlholo.

ATN