TOBACCO ‘BAN’ A NAYSAYER’S GREAT DECEPTION.

TOBACCO ‘BAN’ A NAYSAYER’S GREAT DECEPTION.


THE ZIMBABWEAN government has decided to finally put together a ‘taskforce’ to make sure the country conforms to Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) regulations without negatively affecting the local tobacco industry we are told.

Already there are statements to the effect that Zimbabwe, being a leading producer of Virginia tobacco, may suffer at the hands of a ban or restrictions on tobacco and that the ban or ‘restrictions’ may affect the economy as tobacco is a strategic part of our economy.

Nothing could be further from the truth and in an economy that is getting on its feet; such a taskforce may indeed be a waste of money.

The idea behind COP (congress of the parties) and FCTC is pretty much straight-forward. Those even ‘courting’ the harlotrous use of the word ban, which is far from being suggested by FCTC, are alarmists who just want to deceive government and delay a noble process, which shall inevitably triumph.

For a start, the word is tobacco CONTROL! Where in hell words like BAN are being taken from is amazing and boggles the mind.

One can sense the hand of the tobacco companies behind this choking lie and deception.

To start with, most of the tobacco we produce will go to foreign markets. It is crop we export. What that means is even if we don’t have the ‘restrictions’ in place, as long as countries to which we export adopt FCTC standards, we shall be affected.

From what we have in place as data, many of our markets have adopted FCTC standards and still consume our tobacco.

The only difference is that they have seen marked declines in child smokers while those who do smoke do so from an informed decision stand-point. Saying there should be graphic pictures and messages on the effects of smoking is not a ‘ban’ or a restriction at all, it is merely stating a fact and making sure a consumer will know each time they light up, the consequences of their INFORMED choice-period.

FCTC guidelines also say cigarettes should not be prominently displayed, should not advertise prominently or give an impression that smoking is ‘sexy’ as their advertising has done in the past and sadly still does here in Zimbabwe.

Saying smoking has the potential to ‘kill’ you is not banning smoking or even restricting smoking at all.

Why, the HIV and Aids movement has shown us that saying consequences of ‘reckless’ sex can KILL someone has not deterred people from having sex. In fact, I think we are getting busier and busier by the day….and NIGHT!

Countries like China, the biggest consumer of tobacco will continue buying our tobacco whether we adopt FCTC or not. After all, CHINA herself, the largest consumer, has signed AND ratified FCTC!

We on the other hand are one of twelve that have neither signed let alone ratified FCTC alongside such ‘partners’ as Turkmenistan, Somalia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan!

What it means is that the cigarette companies that are shamelessly promoting smoking by offering the ‘first 300 people’ who come to shows they promote ‘free cigarette packs’ will no longer be allowed to do that.

They will no longer be allowed to insinuate that you ca get a sporting ‘crown of achievement’ from smoking their brand of cigarette.

How many times have we seen sportsmanship and chivalry being associated with cigarette brands? That is what FCTC is against. It is deceptive and encourages children to go for the brand if they want to achieve the sporting chivalry.

Cigarette companies will be told to make sure cigarettes are sold in packs and not by the stick as presently happens here in Zimbabwe. If cigarettes are sold by the stick, it has been noted that they are mostly sold BY kids TO kids.

Currently Zimbabwe has the second largest number of child smokers in the region at last assessment. Way to go Zimbabwe-well done! Your children are choking in your ignorance and at the deception of corporate Zimbabwe! Corporate TOBACCO Zimbabwe!

Tobacco manufacturers want to tell us that the carrot will disappear when FCTC is ratified but that is a big lie. They are bringing everybody into their battle-lines under the pretext of a combined loss if FCTC is ratified yet it is their lone battle. There will not be a chink in the economic armour of Zimbabwe.

The President is on record for detesting smoking especially amongst children, the same group that FCTC rules seek to protect. Do we surely need a taskforce to tell us what our elected president already knows? What we already know, what we share a s a vision?

At a children’s party he hosted two years ago, President Mugabe said he detested smoking and implored that the youth should desist from talking up smoking. Of course until they can make an informed decision.

He gave them a lecture which is now known as the sow and reap lecture. That is when one may sow a deed and eventually at the end of it all, that one small deed becomes a character and ultimately a destiny!

Indeed sekuru Rabson in Muzarabani cannot benefit from the current health warnings that seen to have been written by the tip of needles and in English but pictures will TELL the tale. After all, they are reputed to say a thousand words!

Browsing through FCTC strategies, one can see that the recommendations have nothing to do with export marketing but local policy.

The tobacco companies are taking government for a ride through their campaign to buy time and hopefully not people, which shall be futile if people’s heads are screwed on the right way.

Our markets shall always be open for business. That is a known fact.

The Chinese ambassador recently said trade between the two countries was at an all time high with regards the buying of Zimbabwean tobacco and that will be something that shall be untouched by FCTC.

Let truth be part of this debate. In fact, who should debate something that is supposed to be pretty straightforward if it is not garnished and sexed up for deception’s purpose so it looks sexy enough for those that may deem FCTC an ugly choice?

Ratify FCTC now and let’s send the taskforce cash go to where it is truly needed health delivery and to the schools. And may whoever is peddling the ‘tobacco will be banned’ scare-tale just shut it!


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