No need to kill tobacco industry – Commerce minister

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MINISTER of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga has emphasised the importance of maintaining the tobacco industry in Zambia highlighting its numerous benefits despite acknowledging its negative impacts.

Mulenga underscored various advantages associated with the tobacco industry, including the utilisation of tobacco ash as fertilizer, the exportation of tobacco products, job creation and its contribution to enhanced farm production and animal husbandry.

Mulenga stated that there was no need to kill the tobacco industry urging the public to use it responsibly.

“Use cigarettes moderately. There’s a good in the tobacco industry don’t just look at the negative,” revealed Mulenga.

“The tobacco ash is used as fertilizer for growing grass to feed animals.No need to stop the tobacco industry.”

Addressing concerns about the adverse effects of tobacco, Mulenga stressed the necessity for increased awareness and education to mitigate its negative impacts.

He said the country needs to promote lifestyle and behavioral changes to reduce tobacco-related harm, advocating for restricted smoking areas in public spaces in alignment with the law.

“Lives are lost because of excess use of tobacco. We need to advocate for restricted smoking areas.You can’t smoke in public,” he disclosed.

“Advocate for the enforcement. Look for solutions and control measures as opposed to killing the industry.”

Mulenga however expressed willingness to revisit the Tobacco Control Bill citing input from medical and industry experts with the aim of finding a balanced approach that addresses concerns while preserving the industry’s viability.

“I have listened to medical experts I have listened to industry experts. There should be a win win situation for everyone.”

By Catherine Pule

Kalemba, April 2, 2024

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