Malawi launches Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction Report

Written by  Doreen Sonani

Malawi government has committed itself to promoting the implementation of policies, regulations and programs aimed at reducing health risks associated with tobacco smoking. Chief of Health Service in the Ministry of Health Dr. Charles Mwansambo made the remarks at the launch of the Global State of Tobacco Harm reduction - Africa Launch in the capital Lilongwe.

Dr. Mwansambo (right) with other participants at the report launch Dr. Mwansambo (right) with other participants at the report launch

Dr. Mwansambo says apart from existing initiatives being undertaken to promote healthy lives in the wake of tobacco smoking in Malawi, there is need to enhance strategies and cooperation in addressing the problem.

“We are aware of the health hazards that tobacco smoking has as a major cause of lung diseases including TB as well as different types of cancer, as government we need to come up with other strategies to reduce tobacco consumption as well as increase awareness on the dangers of smoking,” says Mwansambo.

According to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction report for 2018 over one million adults smoke daily and smoking is a deadly public health crisis in the country killing over 5, 700 people every

The launch of the report dubbed “No fire, No Smoke- Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction is therefore, highlighting the need for countries to strengthen preventive measures against smoking and
promoting the use of safer nicotine products.

According to Chimwemwe Ngoma organizing chairperson for the Tobacco Harm Reduction Malawi, the initiative is expected to raise awareness on health consequences and moral threat associated with tobacco smoking to promote healthier lives.

“The report is timely as it will help to create an opportunity for stakeholders to talk about the social and economic implications of tobacco consumption and also raise awareness on health hazards and
mortal threats posed by tobacco smoking and exposure,” says Ngoma.

Malawi has adopted the concept of harm reduction which according to the World Health Organization (WHO) has the potential to help deal with the problem of tobacco smoking. The WHO’s Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) of 2002 supports harm reduction as one of the initiatives to improve the health of the population by eliminating or reducing tobacco smoking.

Tobacco Harm Reduction Malawi, an information reduction project is targeting at Malawi smokers with significantly proven information both on quitting and safer means of nicotine consumption. The initiative is being spearheaded by Knowledge Action Change, a UK based public health agency, Tobacco Harm Reduction Program and Journalists Association Against Aids in Malawi.

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