Zambia names tobacco as greatest threat to public health

The Zambian government said on Monday that tobacco has remained one of the greatest public health threats the world is currently facing and that countries must find lasting solutions to the problem.

Kennedy Malama, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, said during the presentation of findings of a joint Needs Assessment of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco study that the government is making frantic efforts to address challenges related to tobacco use.

The government, he said, is keen to ensure that the country domesticates the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, adding that the government is also formulating a comprehensive tobacco and nicotine inhalants products control law which will support the obligations contained in the WHO convention.

He further said the government is considering introducing laws to regulate the value chain from the manufacturers, sale, packaging and labeling, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products and devices and their use in public and workplaces.

Nathan Bakyaita, WHO country representative, said tobacco is the only legal commodity that is killing many of its users, with 7 million people killed each year.

He called on countries to put in places measures to control tobacco use.

According to government figures, about 23 percent of men and 17 percent of women in Zambia consume tobacco while 17 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women use tobacco daily.

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