Tobacco Free Association of Zambia says it is deeply concerned with the interaction and commitments made by government towards the growth of the tobacco industry.
During the Tobacco Association of Zambia annual 56th congress held in Lusaka on November 25, 2021 Minister of Agriculture Reuben Phiri promised government’s commitment in ensuring that the Tobacco industry grows through the provision of a conducive environment for both business and tobacco related legislation.
TOFAZA Executive Director Brendah Chitindi says this kind of interaction between government and the tobacco industry is the basis for interference in the enactment of the Tobacco and Nicotine Products Control Bill of 2018 which has been pending.
Mrs. Chitindi says it is clear that the tobacco industry is aimed at swaying government to create a favourable policy environment for their business to thrive and maximize profits at the expense of public health adding that the growth of the tobacco industry will mean more deaths due to tobacco consumption related ailments.
She says in as much as TOFAZA appreciates the fact that the Ministry has a mandate to ensure that the agro sector grows, Tobacco as a product is a danger to public health.
“Deforestation for whatever reason is a menace against the global efforts of afforestation recently resolved by world leaders at the cop26 in Glasgow, Scotland to which the republican president of Zambia his Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema was in attendance, said Mrs. Chitindi.
She notes that sadly, the tobacco industry’s growth prospective is further based on hooking more smokers to the habit and the main target are children who are being besieged to be new consumers of different types of tobacco.
Mrs. Chitindi says there is unequivocal evidence that the tobacco industry deliberately and systematically targets children in order to encourage smoking and the use of other tobacco products among them.
“This is carried out using multiple strategies, including marketing, advertising and promotion, very often around schools, leading to experimentation with addiction to tobacco among children. They are thus more likely to become addicted long-time tobacco users and suffer from tobacco – related diseases later in life and or premature deaths,” she said.