Zambia is currently facing a high burden of Non-Communicable Diseases and Communicable Diseases, with tobacco consumption being one of the leading causes. The Tobacco Free Association of Zambia Youth Advocate, represented by Obed Lubasi, has called upon the government to prioritize the well-being of the Zambian youth by enacting and enforcing policies mandated by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
According to Lubasi, tobacco consumption remains a major public concern globally, with its use becoming increasingly popular, especially among the youth. The Tobacco Free Association of Zambia Youth Advocate is deeply concerned about the current trend and believes that significant reduction in tobacco use will ensure declines in Non-Communicable Diseases and a healthier national population.
The organization strongly believes that it is imperative for the government of the Republic of Zambia to enact and enforce policies mandated by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to protect the present and upcoming new generation from aggressive marketing and sale of tobacco products. As youths are more susceptible to cigarette advertising and marketing than adults, the vast majority of all smokers begin their addictive habit before they reach age 18, and almost nobody tries smoking for the first time after 18. If large numbers of children, adolescents, and youths did not try smoking and go on to become regular users, the tobacco companies eventually would not have enough adult customers to make staying in the business worthwhile.
The Tobacco Free Association of Zambia Youth Advocate is confident that enacting the tobacco control bill will be an obligation to protect the public from the devastating health, social, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to its smoke. Smoking and secondhand smoke can seriously harm children, adolescents, and youth while they are still young. Aside from the immediate bad breath, irritated eyes and throat, and increased heartbeat and blood pressure, short-term harms from youth smoking include respiratory problems, reduced immune function, increased illness, tooth decay, gum disease, and cancers gene mutations. Exposure to nicotine can have lasting effects on adolescents’ brain development.
The Tobacco Free Association of Zambia Youth Advocate, therefore, calls upon the government to act with urgency and protect the Zambian youth from the devastating effects of tobacco use. Enacting and enforcing the tobacco control bill is a crucial step in safeguarding the health and well-being of the future generation of Zambia.