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WHO demands heavy tax on tobacco

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants African governments to levy environmental taxes on tobacco throughout its value and supply chains, including production, processing, distribution, sales, consumption, and waste management.

In a message on World No Tobacco Day, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, promised WHO’s assistance in assisting farmers in tobacco-growing countries to switch to alternative crops.

No Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 to raise awareness about the negative health, social, economic, and environmental consequences of tobacco production and use.

The theme for this year, “Tobacco: A Threat to Our Environment,” seeks to highlight the environmental impact of the entire tobacco cycle.

She emphasised the environmental effects of tobacco farming, which include massive use of water, a scarce resource on most continents, large-scale deforestation, and contamination of air and water systems.

In 24 African countries, the WHO estimates that one in every ten African adolescents uses tobacco.

The situation is exacerbated by the introduction of new products, such as electronic nicotine and tobacco products, according to Dr. Moeti.

To that end, she said, WHO collaborated with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Kenyan government to launch the Tobacco-Free Farms project in March.

Writing by Nancy AnikaEzie; Editing by Saadatu Albashir