The 2009 World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Health Risks Report on analysing mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks shows over 6 million people die each year from health conditions associated with tobacco use. Infact, the 2011 WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic states tobacco kills up to one-half of all its users.
The 2013 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Nigeria Report shows at least 4.5 million Nigerian adults aged 15 years or older used tobacco products in 2012 while an estimated 2.7 million adults who worked indoors had been exposed to secondhand smoke in their workplaces, with 5.2 million adults in Nigeria were said to be exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
On the African continent, nearly 70% of students between the ages of 13-15 were able to buy cigarettes in a store despite their age. This is not a pretty picture and calls for prompt attention! Surely, Nigeria as an African giant should lead the charge to safeguard her future leaders and follow words with action as an FCTC signatory.
On Saturday 13th July 2013 when Nigeria officially released her Global Adult Tobacco Survey result to the public, The President, who was represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said: “If you smoke, chew or sniff tobacco or engage in all of them, please quit! Your doctor and health providers can help you break the habit. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. I appeal to health professionals to help their smoking patients quit, and be role models who promote tobacco-free lifestyles.”
Speaking further, the Hon. Minister added: “On my part, I promise that I would do all in my power to ensure that the revised but stiffer anti-tobacco bill which will soon be presented to the Federal Executive Council becomes law."
It is sad to note that till now, nothing has been done about this as the Hon. Minister is yet to match words with action! Our Concern is that a lot of young people (i.e. teenagers and children) now have access to and have become addicted users of tobacco in the country. Tobacco use has been established to be the entry point for drugs usage and addiction, and since we take the position that “Smokers are victims and are not bad people, we have a responsibility to educate them and urge them to quit.”
The good news is that Nigeria now has the opportunity to prevent the initiation of her future workforce into this addiction chamber and avoid the social and economic burden that tobacco use has been proven to cause by passing and implementing a comprehensive set of tobacco control policies and legislation.
We are therefore appealing YET AGAIN to the Hon. Minister for Health to finish the task assigned to his team by leading the charge in ensuring the draft bill is presented to the FEC without delay and approved so it can move onto consideration by the Senate & House of Representatives. This is our CLARION CALL!
To join us in making this strong appeal to the Hon. Minister of Health, add your voice by visiting his facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Let’s help make Nigeria a SMOKE-FREE zone TODAY!
You should also actively participate in the discussions presently ongoing on the following social media platforms:
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