Today marks the launch of the first-ever national mass media campaign to warn people of
the Gambia about tobacco’s harms. Developed by the Non Communicable Disease Control
Programme, Ministry of Health & Social Welfare and World Lung Foundation, the campaign
graphically depicts tobacco’s impact on smokers and non-smokers exposed to tobacco
The campaign, which includes a spot called ‘Cigarettes Are Eating You Alive’ and a
radio spot called “Coughing Child,” will air on radio and billboards in all regions
of the country for eight weeks. It is designed to provide citizens with new
knowledge, and to spur them to support recent tobacco control policies, including
smoke-free places and an increase in tobacco taxes. Such measures have been shown to
reduce smoking, a leading cause of heart disease, lung disease, stroke and cancer.
The health risk associated with cigarette smoking and the use of tobacco in general
is a worrying situation for The Gambia. An average adult Gambian male age 25-64
years smoke about 10 sticks of cigarettes per day. Every Gambian has the
responsibility to implement “A Smoke Free The Gambia” Campaign. The Ministry of
Health & Social Welfare, through its Non Communicable Disease control programme,
under the Directorate of Health Promotion & Education, will rally behind the “A
Smoke Free The Gambia” campaign.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of mortality in the world today,
responsible for more than five million deaths each year – one in ten adults
worldwide. Approximately 15 percent of adults in The Gambia use tobacco. Mass media
campaigns are part of the WHO’s package of MPOWER strategies to reduce tobacco
consumption and are detailed in Article 12 of the international tobacco control
treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). These
tobacco control strategies are endorsed and promoted by the Bloomberg Initiative to
Reduce Tobacco Use, of which World Lung Foundation is a principal partner.
Additional support comes from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
About World Lung Foundation
World Lung Foundation was established in response to the global epidemic of lung
disease, which kills 10 million people each year. The organization also works on
maternal and infant mortality reduction initiatives. WLF improves global health by
improving local health capacity, by supporting operational research, by developing
public policy and by delivering public education. The organization’s areas of
emphasis are tobacco control, indoor air pollution, tuberculosis, acute respiratory
infections and asthma. Please visit worldlungfoundation.org.