Set the record straight in Uganda!

February 20, 2002

Phillip Karugaba in Uganda reports that today's Monitor newspaper quoted the Ugandan President as saying "Africans [in contrast to Europeans and Americans] don't get cancer because they don't swallow cigarette smoke." (For the full text of the article, see below)

Phillip notes that this signals tough times ahead, as the president has veto powers over any legislation.


Phillip is calling on fellow GPTC participants to send short letters to the Monitor newspaper disputing the President's statement and supporting tough tobacco control legislation.

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  • BAT itself admits that smoking poses "real risks of serious diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory disease and heart disease." This is stated on their web-site and in the annual reports and prospectus of the local subsidiary. BAT has over 90% market share.


Monitor - Wednesday 20th February 2002


Unlike Europeans and Americans who have been ravaged by disease caused by smoking, Africans don't get cancer because they don't swallow cigarette smoke, President Yoweri Museveni has said.

This is the second time the president says this in about three years. "We puff it out. That is how my father has smoked for the last 70 years and stayed alive," said the President at a competitiveness conference at International Conference Centre, Saturday.

"We used to look at the Europeans swallowing the smoke. Then (we) heard they have a lot of cancer in Europe. I'm not surprised. Why do they swallow the smoke?" said Museveni.

"I didn't understand the reason some people smoke; we were looking at Easterners and Indians. They were smoking and swallowing," he said.

"I am not promoting smoking. But my father has smoked for a long time, but he has no problem. All the people in western Uganda smoke," the president added.

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