Malawi ‘s ratification of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control comes into effect


The Government of Malawi’s ratification of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) came into effect on Thursday 16th November 2023. With this historic decision, Malawi joins a community of 182 other Parties to the Convention, affirming the country’s high-level political commitment to combatting the global tobacco epidemic and prioritizing public health and well-being.

The Convention, which Malawi ratified in August 2023, is a crucial international treaty designed to address the severe public health risks associated with tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. Its ratification by Malawi demonstrates the country’s determination to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

“WHO congratulates Malawi for this historic step and reaffirms its strong commitment to collaborating closely with the government to achieve the shared goals of the WHO FCTC,” said Dr Neema Rusibamayila Kimambo, WHO Representative in Malawi. “Together, we will continue our collective efforts to protect public health and work towards a tobacco-free future.”

WHO is ready to provide extensive support to ensure Malawi’s successful implementation of the Convention and welcomes the nomination of a government liaison to work closely with the WHO FCTC Secretariat.

The FCTC, which entered into force in February 2005, provides an internationally co-ordinated response to combating the tobacco epidemic, setting out specific steps for governments addressing tobacco use and production, including adopting tax and price measures to reduce tobacco consumption; banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; creating smoke-free work and public spaces; putting prominent health warnings on tobacco packages; and combating illicit trade in tobacco products.

Tobacco consumption is the single largest preventable cause of death, killing more than 7 million people globally each year, of which more than 6 million are users or ex-users of tobacco, and around 890 000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. More than 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

While tobacco is harmful for people who consume it or are exposed to tobacco smoke, it is also harmful for the people who plant, cultivate, harvest and process it. WHO estimates that tobacco farmers may absorb nicotine equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. A key aspect of implementation of the FCTC is to work with tobacco farmers on crop replacement and diversification which also has long-term economic, agricultural and health benefits