The merits or otherwise of Uganda’s Tobacco Control Act (TCA) are to be fought out before the country’s Constitutional Court, according to a story by Anthony Wesaka for the Daily Monitor.
The TCA came into force on November 28, 2015.
Through the Attorney General (AG), the government is defending the TCA on the grounds that the restriction of the use of tobacco in public places is proportionate given the harmful effects tobacco use has on the health of consumers.
In addition, the government says that a TCA requirement for graphic health messages that occupy no less than 65 percent of the principal display area of cigarette packs is intended to communicate the harmful effects of tobacco use to all, including the illiterate and children.
Meanwhile, a civil society organization, the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development, has applied to the court to join the government in defending the TCA ‘on behalf of the general public’.
The government’s defence is being mounted in response to a court petition filed by British American Tobacco challenging a number of provisions of the TCA.
BAT is said to maintain that the 65 percent health warning unreasonably encumbers the use of its trade marks on product packaging, as protected under the Trademarks Act 2010, and also impacts on the goodwill associated with its brands.
In its main petition before the court, BAT contends that the TCA Act has the effect of unjustifiably singling out the tobacco industry for discriminative treatment and amounts to a ban on the right to trade and consume a legal product, which contravenes the right to freedom from discrimination.