The Malawi Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance has asked the government to increase taxes charged on tobacco and nicotine substances saying most cancer illnesses in the country are caused by smoking.
Chairperson of the Alliance, Maud Mwakasungula has said in a statement released today Tuesday that the move is also aimed at discouraging many people from smoking.
`` Human health is very important for everyone and we just need to protect that, for the sound nation. Tobacco is not just harmful to human health, but also a threat to the environment since trees are used to cure the leaf," said Mwakasungula.
The use of the leaf is a leading cause of multiple cancers such as oral, lung, liver, stomach, bowel, and ovarian cancers, as well as some types of leukemia.
This appeal comes at a time when Malawi is today Tuesday, 31st May, joining various stakeholders to amplify voices against smoking.
Added Mwakasungula, as the country joins several other partners globally in voicing out against smoking, the country should at least come up with measures of reducing smoking.
Suggest Mwakasungula: ``Apart from imposing heavy taxes on tobacco we also think, enforcing bans on the commodity’s advertising, promotion and sponsorships can help deal with the challenge Malawi is facing in as far as smoking is concerned.”
Apart from affecting human health, the Alliance is also saying that the tobacco industry has been harmful to the environment by cutting down trees to cure the crop.
When asked if these calls have social and business gain's for countries' economy, Economist, Dr. Betchani Tchereni of the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) said these campaigns have worked in most parts of the world and there is a need to amplify them.
``This takes us to an anti-smoking campaign most governments and stakeholders are holding globally that has seen a reduction of people smoking tobacco.”
Tobacco kills 8 million people worldwide each year, mainly in low- and middle-income countries where 80% of the world’s smokers live.