Policy group knocks govt for delay in enacting tobacco control law, as Zambia records 7000 deaths


The government has been accused of lacking commitment to protecting and fulfilling the right to life by failing to enact the Tobacco Control law.

The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) stated that the government had adopted a reluctant approach towards enacting the law despite knowing that tobacco continues to kill people in Zambia.

CTPD Legal Researcher, Lucy Musonda, in a statement issued in Lusaka on Wednesday, emphasized that it was the government’s duty to respect, protect and fulfill the right to life.

Musonda highlighted that statistics showed about 7,000 deaths in Zambia were tobacco-related, deaths that could be prevented if the government established necessary measures.

“The government plays an imperative role in protecting the right to life of its people, which is enshrined in the Bill of Rights embedded in the Zambian Constitution of 1991, as amended by Act No. 18 of 1996 and Act No. 2 of 2016,” she said.

Musonda stressed that the right to life was dependent on other rights, such as the right to health and a clean environment.

She added that government’s obligation to protect means safeguarding individuals against human rights abuses.

“The duty to fulfill requires the government to take actions that facilitate the enjoyment of the right to life. This action should be the enactment of the Tobacco Control law,” Musonda asserted.

Read More: Zambia commits to enforce tobacco control law to safeguard wellbeing of citizens

She noted that in 2008, Zambia committed to fulfilling the right to life through the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Musonda said this commitment reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health and obligates Zambia to enact a law that included measures to reduce both the demand and supply of tobacco.

She urged the government to uphold its obligation to protect and fulfill the right to life and public health by expediting the enactment of the Tobacco Control Bill.

“The law will send a strong message to the public about the need to reduce diseases and deaths caused by tobacco use and exposure, thereby safeguarding the right to life of all Zambian people,” Musonda noted.

She asserted the urgency of this issue, pointing out that tobacco use affects not only smokers but also secondary and tertiary consumers, thus putting the right to life of every human being at risk.

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