Zambia commits to enforce tobacco control law to safeguard wellbeing of citizens


Zambia needs to implement and enforce a tobacco control law that will make the country compliant with international best practices, authorities say.

Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, stated that the law would also safeguard the health and well-being of the people, especially the youth.

The minister said this when she opened the Semi-Annual Bill and Melinda Gates Tobacco Control Core Partners’ Meeting in Chongwe on Thursday.

“Tobacco is highly addictive and tobacco use is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases,” she noted.

Masebo said over 20 different types or subtypes of cancer had been associated with tobacco use and that globally more than 8 million people die from diseases attributed to tobacco use every year.

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She added that tobacco could also be deadly for non-smokers and second-hand smoke exposure had also been implicated in adverse health outcomes, causing 1.2 million deaths annually.

The minister restated that in Zambia, more than 7,000 people die every year because of tobacco related diseases and that 60 percent of these individuals were below the age of 70.

“There is need for individual African countries to put in place practices that reduce harmful use of tobacco,” Masebo said.

She assured that the government was resolved to contain the harmful tobacco use through responsive and effective legislation.

Masebo said in a quest to empower this generation and the next generation to be tobacco free, there was need to act at personal, family, community, national and international levels to fight this public health threat.

“I wish to encourage all core partners, civil society, academia and research institutions to continue educating the citizenry on the harmful effects of tobacco use,” she advised.

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