Student Union Bodies Join Forces to Push for Comprehensive Tobacco Legislation
Several student union bodies in Zambia have come together to call for the long-awaited Tobacco Bill to be enacted into law. The proposed legislation aims to manage and regulate the production, use, and sale of tobacco products in the country, with the primary goal of safeguarding public health.
Speaking on behalf of these student unions, Chandra Choongo, President of the University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU), emphasized the importance of enacting the Tobacco Bill as a means of protecting individuals from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. Exposure to tobacco smoke is widely recognized as a significant health hazard.
Mr. Choongo expressed concerns regarding the lengthy period the draft Bill has been under consideration, which spans approximately 15 years, without significant progress toward becoming law. This delay in enactment has spurred the student unions to take collective action and advocate for the Bill’s passage.
The student union bodies voiced their concerns during a press briefing held at the Center for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD). They called on Members of Parliament to prioritize the Tobacco Bill, recognizing its significance for public health and well-being.
Additionally, Mercy Mecha, President of Chreso University Student Union, urged MPs to take a keen interest in the matter, emphasizing the need to address the regulatory gaps associated with tobacco use and sales effectively.
Sylvester Katantoka, Director of the Mental Health Users Network, underscored the potential of comprehensive tobacco legislation to combat tobacco-related diseases. Such a law, he noted, would be a significant step forward in safeguarding the health of Zambian citizens.
The collaborative efforts of these student union bodies and advocacy groups demonstrate the growing consensus on the importance of the Tobacco Bill and its potential to mitigate the health risks associated with tobacco use, production, and sale in Zambia. Their call for action seeks to promote the well-being of the country’s citizens and reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases.