Anti smoking lobbyists tip Malawi on Tobacco


International social analysts are piling pressure on Malawi and other African countries to fast track their crop diversification programmes and reconsider their over reliance on tobacco as a major foreign exchange earner.

Tobacco is still regarded as Malawi’s economic backbone, contributing 11 percent of Gross Domestic Product and 60 percent of forex earnings. There are 350, 000 growers in the industry, which provides 80 percent of rural jobs.

Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development is on record to have repeatedly said Tobacco will remain Malawi’s cash crop as switching to other crops needs a huge investment.


President of Leadership Impact Dynamics (Nigeria), Ade Adeyemi stressed that nations are now going towards a tobacco smoke free world.

“We are going smoke free. The world is going smoke free…And this is real. These countries should begin doing something about it,” he said in his presentation titled Smoke free world, an imperative to reaching Sustainable Development Goal number three at a workshop on Tobacco harm reduction underway in Naivasha, Kenya.

“It’s time for African countries to begin crop diversification. Don’t wait for things to get worse before adopting diversification programmes full swing, the time is now. It happened in Nigeria before, we once over relied on oil. We got warnings that the prices might become lower but we didn’t do much on time. Whether we like it or not, something is bound to happen in your country,” said Debo Adesina, Editor In Chief of The Guardian Nigeria, in his presentation titled Accountability towards the public.


The social analysts further believe that Tobacco industry remains complex because of the strict regulation and the continued public criticism of the harm which smoking causes.

” In a world of emerging technologies that are redefining people’s daily lives, some players in the tobacco industry have committed huge investments in research and development to come up with products that could be less harmful,” Tendai Mhizha, a Lecturer of Gordon Institute of Business Science (University of Pretoria) said.

She further observed that even though this might eventually affect major tobacco growing countries like Malawi, the use of new technologies does not eradicate tobacco production.

“Just that this time around the nicotine in the tobacco will be extracted for the electronic devices it is just a different process from the cigarette production,” she added.

During this year’s World No Tobacco day, which is commemorated on May 31, the World Health Organisation said tobacco use is a major barrier to sustainable development, with widespread impact on health, poverty, global hunger, economic growth, gender equality, environment, education, finance and governance.

It further said globally, tobacco kills more than 7.2 million people per year, with over 80 percent from low- or middle-income countries. In the African Region, about 146, 000 adults aged 30 years and above die every year from tobacco-related diseases. Up to half of all tobacco users will die prematurely from tobacco-related causes, and on average, tobacco users lose 15 years of life.

The Naivasha tobacco harm reduction workshop has been held in a push to provide a new frontier to a smoke free world.

The conference has representation from 14 African countries and provides an opportunity to openly debate the future of tobacco industry and how companies can embrace technology and innovations to achieve Sustainable Development Goal three on good health and wellbeing, by offering practical smoke-free alternatives to smokers.

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