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By Ireen Mulenga
Zambia Consortium on Tobacco Control calls for the tabling of tobacco control legislation (the Tobacco
Control Bill) before Parliament.
Zambia Media Network Against Tobacco Chairperson Paxina Phiri said the Tobacco Control Bill is in
essence a domestication of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
(WHO FCTC) to which Zambia became a signatory on 23 May 2008.
Ms Phiri said it’s almost 13 years now without domestication of this legal instrument before Parliament.
“As Civil Society Organizations with a vested interest in the health and economic livelihoods of the
people of Zambia, we are concerned that despite several deliberations and stakeholders’ consultations,
our calls to enact appropriate tobacco control legislation have gone unheeded,” she said.
Ms Phiri said domestically tobacco related illnesses and deaths cost the Zambian economy approximately K2.8 billion, which equates to 1.2 percent of the GDP.
She said the Ministry of Health has reported that there are over 7, 000 tobacco related illnesses yearly
with youths and adolescents being the most at risk.
Ms Phiri said the Ministry of Health estimated approximately 7,312 tobacco related deaths in 2020
She said the urgency to enact the tobacco control legislation is further exacerbated by the outbreak of
the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Phiri said that the Early indications are that smokers have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than
their non-smoking counterparts.
She said Zambia is one of the highest rates of illicit trading in tobacco and nicotine products in Southern
Africa which presents an added burden as these products are more easily accessible to young people.
Ms Phiri also said that there is little or no control on issues around pricing and considerable revenue
is lost through tax evasion.