18 Nov 2010
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Press Release: 15 November 2010
PROMOTING PUBLIC HEALTH AND SERVING THE TOBACCO
INDUSTRY; A CLEAR CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The Tobacco-Free Association of Zambia (TOFAZA) is totally against recent government’s attacks on the World Health Organization (WHO) by claiming that the world health body is destabilizing the world tobacco trade which will eventually harm Zambia’s economy and has since asked donor countries to reject some articles in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
TOFAZA is totally against these wild accusations against WHO and calling for amendments to FCTC articles 9, 10, 17 and 18 is unconceivable and a share waste of time because for example, Article 9 is there to regulate the contents of tobacco products while article 10 is to force the tobacco industry to disclose the contents and emissions of tobacco products.
Article 17 is for the promotion of economically viable alternative crops to tobacco and article 18 is for the protection of the environment and the health of the people in relation to the environment in respect of tobacco cultivation and manufacture.
“From the above, the articles are there principally to protect human life and the issue of revisiting these articles is certainly out of question and in any case Zambia has already ratified the convention and those calling for amendments are doing so purely for their dubious reasons”
We therefore call upon the Minister of Agriculture Hon. Eustarkio Kazonga to unreservedly apologize to WHO for those unwarranted attacks because the global health mother body is working hard to ensure the health of the people comes first as opposed to billions the tobacco industry is profiteering on human life.
We are aware that the tobacco industry in Zambia is manipulating and influencing national heath policies by developing ‘revolving door| relationship with government and its agencies.
“As TOFAZA we will not rest in our war against tobacco in Zambia because our main concern is the health of the people as a healthy nation is a prerequisite to sound economic development badly needed to reduce the current high poverty levels in the nation”
With the concept of growing alternative crops to tobacco, we are more than sure that more jobs would be created in a healthy and clean environment as opposed to current scenarios in which the tobacco industry in Zambia is giving loans to tobacco growers to chain them to poverty. That is unacceptable and TOFAZA is more than geared to meet the tobacco industry in Zambia head-on for the sake of the health of Zambians.