After the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and subsequent domesticationbyindividual countries, there were initial fears that restrictions on smoking may have an adverse impact on businesses. However, as the legislation took effect, what researchers discovered was that businesses had actually been on the losing end with non-restrictive smoking.
Workplaces that allowed smoking had cases of decreased productivity as a result of disease and premature death caused by smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. Also they faced more health hazards and spent more on insurance premiums, cleaning and maintenance costs.
In addition to remedying the negative economic impact of smoking on businesses, a smoke-free environment also considerably intervenes in reducing the burden of disease attributable to tobacco use by protecting people from not just smoking but exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke (SHS).
We know that SHS contains nicotine, carcinogens, and toxins and exposure to SHS is carcinogenic to humans. Article 8 of the World Health Organization (WHO) FCTC categorically states that "scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability.” Globally, about half of non-smokers are exposed to tobacco smoke at their workplaces, homes, bars and in public transport and about 10-15% of lung cancers in this set of people is attributed to SHS.
Having smokers keep their smoke to themselves will mean millions of Nigerians, particularly pregnant women and children will be free from exposure to SHS. Based on the experience of nations that have instituted measures to ensure a smoke-free environment, we should also expect to witness an almost immediate reduction in incidence of heart attack with rapid improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. wheezing and coughing) and sensory symptoms (e.g. upper airway and eye irritation).
Smokers who had been attempting to quit enjoy immense boost to actualize their aspiration in environments that smoke-free regulations are promoted and enforced. For example, after government, businesses, homes and other establishments began implementation of smoke-free regulations in Ireland, the country experienced 33% reduction in smoking prevalence in one year as a result of immense public support and high level of compliance.
Smokers who quit and free themselves from the health crippling habit are known to experience a reduced heart rate, lowered blood pressure (blood pressure are usually abnormally high while smoking), decreased level of carbon monoxide in the blood and improvement in lung functions. In the long run, quitting also reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases such as heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by smoking.
So, for smokers resident in Nigeria who have been striving to quit, instituting a smoke-free environment may just be that final catalyst that will catapult you to the highly desirable, valuable and propitious non-smoker status.
Join the campaign for Tobacco Control legislation in Nigeria by signing up as a Cause Champion. Simply send your 1) Name, 2) Email address, 3) Telephone No and 4) Location to info(at)socialresponsibilitymanagers.org. Signing up will get you a chance to have a specially designed Facebook, Twitter and G+ profile banner graced with Stella Damasus' and Fela Durotoye's pictures.
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