An anti-smoking group has urged Malawi to speed up efforts to replace tobacco as the main foreign exchange earner.
The remarks were made on Wednesday when the Tobacco Harm Reduction Team, Malawi chapter held a conference that attracted different stakeholders from different professions including representatives from the Ministry of Health and Population aimed at cementing information in pursuit to curtailing deaths of tobacco smoking.
Speaking to Malawi24, Project Manager for Tobacco Harm Reduction Malawi project Chimwemwe Ngoma urged the Malawi government to put extra effort to realising crops that may replace tobacco which is a major crop in Malawi.
Ngoma was also quick to tell Malawi government to draw a difference on the profits tobacco farmers used to earn and how much they have been earning in recent years.
He said the globe is realising that tobacco smoking is a threat to the good health of people.
“Our local tobacco farmers are complaining each year that they are not realising enough profits as they were used to do in the past.
“This is due to the campaigns all over targeting tobacco smoking and this has to be a wakeup call to government before things turn ugly,” Ngoma narrated.
Deputy Director, Clinical Services Response for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health in the ministry of Health Dr Kaponda Masiye said tobacco smoking has caused a huge harm to the lives of people in Malawi.
“35 percent of diseases burden in this country is due to non-communicable diseases and the major cause of such diseases is tobacco smoking.
“We are sure that if the number of people who smoke tobacco gets reduced, the prevalence of such diseases will as well go down,” said Kaponda.
He added that as a ministry they take reports to the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development highlighting damages tobacco smoking has caused in the country.
He also expressed hope that anti-smoking campaigns will help to quicken the passage of information on tobacco smoking to rural communities.
Reports indicate that over 7500 people in Malawi die due to tobacco smoking caused diseases.