World No Tobacco Day (31 May)


World No Tobacco Day is commemorated on May 31. The theme for 2016 was: “Get Ready for Plain packaging.” World Health Organization (WHO) Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti made a call on countries in the Region to prioritize the adoption of stronger warnings on tobacco products including plain packaging. Plain packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that require packages of all tobacco products to have a standard colour and style, and to bear only the name of that specific product. It removes the use of colours, logos and images on tobacco products, thus making them less attractive especially to young people. Plain packaging will have prominent health warnings in both words and pictures.

To commemorate World No Tobacco Day 2016, WHO provided technical support through its country and regional offices to the Kingdom of Swaziland in the formulation of a National Coordinating Mechanism (NCM) for tobacco control. Dr William Maina and Dr William Onzivu conducted a three-day workshop at the Royal Villas which was attended by stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as the civic society.

The formation of the NCM is a prerequisite of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) entered into force in February 2005. The FCTC provides an internationally co-ordinated response to combating the tobacco epidemic, and sets out specific steps for governments in addressing tobacco use. During the workshop, Ministry of Health Legal Advisor Zandile Dhlamini presented the provisions of the Tobacco Products Control Act of 2013, which requires that the Minister of Health appoints a Tobacco Products and Licensing Board which will regulate, supervise and monitor tobacco and tobacco related products in the country.

Director of Health Services, Dr Vusie Magagula, addressing the pupils during the commemoration. © WHO Swaziland/2016
Pupils from schools around Manzini posing for a group photo during the No Tobacco Day. © WHO Swaziland/2016