Anti-tobacco campaigners have been calling on the Zambian government to ban tobacco production and trade because of its negative effects on health.
In May 2013, member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the Tobacco Control Treaty and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC seeks to reduce tobacco consumption, encourages governments to increase tax on tobacco, ban comprehensive advertising and demand that large health warning labels be displayed.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Maxas Ng’onga said banning tobacco production and trade could worsen poverty especially in rural communities which depend entirely on tobacco production for their livelihoods.
According to him, tobacco contributes three percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and generates much needed foreign exchange through exports, adding that Zambian cannot manage to ignore the tobacco industry.
The Zambian minister however said there was need for dialogue between the tobacco sector and health authorities on the country’s adoption of the tobacco control treaty. Enditem