The Tobacco Association of Malawi (Tama) says the decision by some West African countries such as Liberia and Nigeria to ban smoking in public will affect the country’s production of the crop in the long run.
The Nigerian government recently banned smoking in public and Liberia followed suit and Tama chief executive officer (CEO) Graham Kunimba fears more West African countries could follow suit.
In January this year, the Lagos State House of Assembly enacted a law to regulate smoking in public places in all parts of the State and the country is one of the buyers of tobacco from Malawi, according to Tama.
According to Tama, the law prohibits smoking in all public places, including libraries, museums, public toilets, schools, hospitals, day care centres, public transportation and restaurants, among others.
“The decision by Nigeria and Liberia to ban public smoking has ripple effects. What this does is that many people who love smoking in public reduce the intake of tobacco and manufacturers also tend to produce fewer cigarettes, meaning that the volumes of tobacco that we sell are also affected,” said Kunimba.