Call to enhance tobacco control policies Tobacco

Michael Magoronga, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT should consider tightening tobacco control policies in a bid to increase a smoke-free environment and help reduce non-communicable diseases, drug and substance abuse, among other negative societal effects.

This comes as the country is reeling from a drug and substance abuse scourge that is threatening to wipe off the younger generation. In a statement to commemorate World No Tobacco Day, Youth Against Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (YADD) executive director, Mr Tungamirai Zimonte, urged the Government to undertake a policy review to ensure effects of tobacco are reduced.

Mr Zimonte believes that the majority of drugs are made out of tobacco and the increase in monitoring policies, as well as awareness may go a long way in reducing the drug and substance scourge. “We urge not only the Zimbabwean government but all African governments to adopt and implement cohesive tobacco control policies in line with international standards including increased taxation, stringent advertising restrictions and promotion of smoke-free environments,” said Mr Zimonte.

He said there more public awareness about the detrimental effects of tobacco use on individual health must be rolled out. “As YADD we are committed to working with the Government to raise awareness about the negative effects of tobacco on individual health, agriculture and the environment,” he said.

“Through educational campaigns, advocacy and community outreach, we can empower young people and communities to make informed choices and take a stand against tobacco.” While Zimbabwe is realizing economic benefits from tobacco farming, Mr Zimonte said it was equally important to highlight the negative effects of the crop on the environment and individual health.

“Tobacco production has long been a prominent industry in many African countries. While it may provide short-term economic gains, the long-term consequences of public health, the environment and the economy are detrimental,” he said. World No Tobacco Day is commemorated globally on every 31 May. Mr Zimonte said this year’s theme ‘Africa needs food, Not Tobacco’ is meant to remind African governments of the need to shift focus from tobacco farming to food security through farming of crops that ensure that countries are food secure.

“YADD urges individuals, organizations and governments to reflect on the urgent need to prioritize food production, security and public health over tobaccos’ industry’ profit driven motives,” he said.

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