KAMPALA, The Uganda government has started enforcing a law which prohibits smoking in public places following a court ruling dismissing an appeal by cigarette manufacturer British American Tobacco (BAT) to temporarily halt the implementation of the Tobacco Control Act 2015.

On Wednesday, a panel of five Justices of the Constitutional Court, headed by Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma, dismissed the application for lack of merit. Also on the panel were Justices Remmy Kasule, Richard Buteera, Chebrion Barishaki and Hellen Obura.

We find that the applicant has not made a case to be granted this application, they stated. The Justices clarified that the cost of the suit would be considered in the main application.

Last year, BAT dragged government to court, challenging the constitutionality of the Tobacco Control Act 2015. According to BAT, 22 clauses in the Act are unreasonable and contravene Articles 40 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Act which was passed into law in July, 2015, criminalises buying a cigarette for a person below the age of 21, selling or operating tobacco-related products or smoking a cigarette within 50 metres of a public facility or in places such as schools or hospitals.

The Act also bans some tobacco products, including Shisha (water-pipe tobacco), smokeless tobacco such as Kuber and flavoUred tobacco products.


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