The Herald (Harare)

21 June 2014

Zimbabwe: Anti-Tobacco Use Day Celebrated

Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world to mark the World No Tobacco Day and International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, amid worldwide calls to raise tobacco taxes to avert millions of premature tobacco-related deaths.

Speaking at the commemorations, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said it was important for the country to consider price and tax measures as an effective tool for reducing tobacco consumption and premature tobacco-related deaths particularly among young people.

"Let us all work together in advocating for an increase in tobacco taxes to levels that reduce tobacco consumption," he said.

"Let's also work together in creating awareness on the dangers of illicit drug trafficking and drug use in order to create a future generation which is free from drug use and being used as drug traffickers." Commemorations were held under the theme: "Raise Tobacco Taxes."

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death.

Every 6,5 seconds one person dies from tobacco use amid WHO research that suggests that people who start smoking in their teens and continue for two decades or more, will die 20 to 25 years earlier than those who never lit up.

The UN agency estimates that tobacco will kill up to eight million people by 2030, mostly in developing countries.

Tobacco use exposes people to cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, heart problems and a range of other diseases.

According to the UN office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), nearly 200 million people worldwide are using illegal drugs such as mbanje and cocaine.

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