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The State of Tobacco in Malawi

  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) status: Malawi is not a signatory.
  • Tobacco advertisement ban: No existing laws for tobacco advertisement ban, there is aggressive marketing by the tobacco industry targeting the youth.
  • Statistics on smoking: It is estimated that 18 percent of adult males and 1.2 percent of females in Malawi smoke tobacco . Representing about 1 million adults (15+ years old). 8 percent of boys and 1.0 percent of girls between ages 13-15 smoke cigarettes. Global atlas indicates that there more than 5,000 children (10-14 years old) smoking.
  • Media dialogue: There is a lack of public education about smoking and many smokers, especially in rural areas, don’t fully understand smoking’s potential to cause negative health effects.
  • Views of alternatives to smoking: Malawians have little exposure to or knowledge of alternatives to combustible cigarettes.
  • Smoking reduction: Tobacco smoking rates among men and women have declined from 25.5 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, in 2003 to 18 percent and 1.2 percent in 2010, the latest available data
  • Negative consequence: Every year, more than 5,700 people are killed by tobacco-caused disease. The WHO estimates, exposure to tobacco kills almost 5.1 men and 2.0 women.
  • Smoke free zones: The country has no smoke-free zones, exposing non-smokers to secondhand smoke.
  • Bans: There are no restrictions on smoking in public places, advertising, or promotion. There is no minimum age to purchase tobacco.
  • Health warnings: There is no law that requires tobacco packaging to display a warning or the associated risks.
  • Treatment of tobacco dependence: There is no mechanism for treating individuals with smoking dependence.
  • Tobacco tax rates: There are no laws requiring a minimum tobacco excise tax rate.

World Health Organization, (2017), WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, Geneva, Switzerland.

Smoke Free World Foundation (2018) State of Smoking in Malawi Extracted from: