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AFRO-NETS> Zambia To Legislate Against Smoking
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Zambia To Legislate Against Smoking
- From: Robert Weissman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 01:41:56 -0400 (EDT)
Zambia To Legislate Against Smoking
Zambia To Legislate Against Smoking
by Musengwa Kayaya, PANA Correspondent
Date: Monday, 5/31/99
LUSAKA, Zambia (PANA) - Bowing to pressure from the local anti-smoking
lobby, and in recognition of the health hazards associated with tobacco
smoking, the Zambian government has promised to introduce tougher and
more effective anti-tobacco legislation.
The regulations, according to Zambian government officials would, among
others, include a ban on smoking in specified public places to protect
non-smokers from the effects of the health threatening "foul and anti-
Both Zambian Deputy Health Minister Ernest Mwansa and Director-Genral
of the Central Board of Health of the Ministry of Health, Gavin Sil-
wamba, Monday confirmed the government's new commitment at the world
"No-Tobacco Day" celebration in Lusaka.
Mwansa said in a statement read for him by Silwamba that government was
reviewing all existing relevant public health regulations to re-inforce
them to effectively deal with the tobacco habit, particularly among the
He conceded that authorities were getting alarmed by the social costs
directly or indirectly caused by tobacco consumption, in addition to
the huge medical bills arising from the treatment of tobacco-related
The Zambian anti-smoking lobby, including government officials, have
said that the smoking habit, apart from its health implications, has
been found to lure some of the smokers, particularly the young, to
other "harder drugs" like marijuana, heroine, alcohol and others.
Mwansa regretted that developing African countries like Zambia, which
were already overwhelmed by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and other major kil-
ler diseases like tuberculosis should be made to spend their meagre re-
sources on treating complicated tobacco-induced ailments.
These include general respiratory complications and the various cancers
like lung spleen, mouth and bladder cancers, all of which medical
authorities have associated with tobacco consumption.
Silwamba said that, in addition, government was in the process of draw-
ing up a national plan of action against tobacco.
The board is also taking stock of all existing tobacco information,
education, communication, advocacy and social mobilisation efforts in
It is also maintaining an inventory of all organisations involved in
tobacco education with a view to help them broaden their technical ca-
pacities in the anti-smoking campaign.
Zambia's anti-smoking lobby has in the past been spearheaded by non-
governmental groups, notable among which was the Programme Against Sub-
stance Abuse (PASA) and the National Anti-Smoking Society.
The PASA had in 1998 in the capital convened a national anti-tobacco
conference to draw up a strategy against tobacco. The conference blamed
the government for allegedly doing very little to help control or stamp
out the tobacco habit, as evidenced by the lack of a national policy on
The conference, which was attended by various anti-smoking stakeholders
recommended, among others, the establishment of an anti-smoking na-
tional fund, to which tobacco companies should be forced to contribute.
It was suggested the fund should be used for anti-smoking activities
and to supplement medical bills for "tobacco" patients and support fam-
ily members whose relations fell victim to tobacco related illnesses.
There are currently no statistics on the smoking trend among Zambians.
Physical evidence however suggests that tobacco is widely used among
people of both sexes and various age groups.
World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Edward Maganu, who
spoke on the same occasion Monday, said that the current challenge with
tobacco consumption was to help reduce the projected high global to-
bacco-caused death annually by the year 2030.
The WHO estimates that currently, about four million smokers die annu-
ally world-wide from the various tobacco induced ailments. The majority
of the victims are said to be in Africa and other developing regions of
According to social research findings quoted by the Zambian anti-
smoking lobby, young people are particularly misled by the subtle to-
bacco advertisements which portrayed smoking variously as "the manly
thing" to do and as being "the international passport to pleasure."
This illusory concept of "pleasure" is said later to lead most children
into other "immoral conduct" including illicit sex which exposes them
to HIV/AIDS infection.
This year's No-Tobacco Day is being observed under the theme, "Smoking
Cessation" with the slogan "Leave The (cigarette) Pack Behind."
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