The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD says its research on Tobacco in Zambia, indicates, 7,142 people die each year and 60 percent of deaths are of people under 70 years.
CTPD Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist Isaiah Mbewe says it is for this reason his organisation has embarked on a project dubbed Tobacco Taxation Project ( TTP ) to reduce the affordability of Tobacco and its influence in Zambia.
Mr Mbewe says increasing taxation will reduce consumption of the substance which mostly affects the youths.
“We also aim to boost domestic resource mobilization for the country, but the ultimate goal is to reduce the consumption of tobacco in the country among the youth,” he said
CTPD Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist said this during a two day media training with members of Western Province Press Club in Mongu.
Among the objective of meeting was to build their capacity on media advocacy around tobacco control in the country.
And Provincial Press Club Chairperson Sifuwe Mwangala nodded the importance of concerted effort in setting the media agenda on the life threatening substance.
Ms Mwangala said the training was a wakeup call for most Journalists to commit to covering issues pertaining to tobacco control.
“Some of us didn’t know that the health of farmers is always put at risk as they grow and harvest tobacco. Now that we know, we shall sensitize farmers on its dangers,” she revealed.
The Journalists from various media houses attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, A Researcher at Centre for Primary Care Research, UNZA School of medicine, Richard Zulu said the concerns surrounding Tobacco are urgent because of its harm to health.
Mr Zulu discloses that tobacco constitutes poisonous gases, cancer causing chemicals and contains toxic metals.
“Farm workers, often women and children also absorb nicotine through their skin during harvesting and processing causing diseases like green tobacco sickness and at times causing abortions, he explained.
Meanwhile, Paxina Phiri, a Communication Expert from Centre for Primary Care and Research (CPCR) , said collaborating in media advocacy is a powerful strategy to highlight a point of view.
Ms Phiri who is also the Chairperson of the Zambia Media Network against Tobacco (ZAMNAT) emphasized the importance of research and the dissemination of correct information to the audience for meaningful media impact.
And the Chairperson has strongly called on government to pass the Tobacco products and Nicotine control bill designed to domesticate the World Health Organisation Framework convention on tobacco control (WHO – FCTC).
The development of the bill which started in 2009 when enacted will reduce tobacco related diseases and exposure of the public to Tobacco smoke as it will ban indoor smoking, and advertising.