The Ministry of Health is drafting a Tobacco and Nicotine Inhalants Products Control Bill to effect a law that would regulate the sponsorship of tobacco products, services and their use in public and workplaces.

But WHO representative, Dr Nathan Bakyaita says the Zambian government still has a lot of work to do in terms of controlling the use of tobacco in the country as records still show a rise in the number of people consuming tobacco.

Minister of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration, Dr Kennedy Malama, disclosed this at the joint-needs assessment for the Wold health Organisation (WHO)’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Lusaka, Monday.

“You may want to know that Zambia acceded to the WHO FCTC on 23 May, 2008, to assist us fulfil our national and indeed WHO FCTC obligations, six evidence-based tobacco control demand reduction MPOWER measures that are proven to reduce tobacco use must be employed and these are; M for monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; P for protecting people from tobacco smoking; O for Offering help to quit tobacco use; W for warning about the dangers of tobacco; E for Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and R for raising taxes on tobacco,” said Dr Malama.

“Tobacco and Nicotine Inhalants Products Control Bill 2018, our desire in this Bill is to have an Act that would talk to and respond with the obligations contained in the WHO-FCTC. In other words, we intend to domesticate the WHO-FCTC. We want to start to move further in this Bill by taking into account regulation of tobacco products, tobacco devices, and nicotine-inhaling products and the tobacco industry.”

However, WHO representative, Dr Nathan Bakyaita, told participants that the Zambian government still had a lot of work to do.

“The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly seven million people each year of which more than 890,000 are due to exposure to tobacco smoke. Tobacco-related deaths are more than all deaths due to tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria combined. Tobacco is the only legally-available consumer product, which kills people when it is used entirely as intended or according to instructions,” cautioned Dr Bakyaita.

“Turning to Zambia, tobacco generally used has been on the increase, especially among the male. The Zambia ‘STEPs’ survey 2017 revealed that nationally, 23 per cent of the men smoke tobacco with 17 per cent smoking daily, while only 2 per cent of women smoke. A slight increase for men from about 20 per cent, while that of women remains the same, according to the ZDHS 2013-2014. The government of Zambia has made commendable efforts in implementing the provisions of the treaty. However, a lot more needs to be done.”