Intense warnings over the past 30 years about the hazards of tobacco have diminished but not curtailed its use. One in six of our nation’s children risk becoming regular smokers and one-quarter of them or five million individuals will die unnecessarily from their addiction. Studies have shown that after trying to quit for over a year, 95% of teenagers give up and start smoking again. It is easier to avoid tobacco altogether than it is to quit once you have started smoking.
Therefore, it is surprising that even though tobacco is responsible for 30% of all cancers and is the leading cause of preventable death in Nigeria, there is not yet a comprehensive bill that adequately regulates the tobacco industry in the interest of Nigerians.
A large proportion of these deaths are caused by respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer. 70% of smokers start before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25 years, when lung damage already begins. The proposed Tobacco Control Bill contains measures to prevent children and young people from picking up their first cigarettes as even today, cigarettes kill more people than road accidents, AIDS, drugs, alcoholism, fires, murders, and suicides combined. While we are fighting the scourge, the tobacco industry is working overtime to attract youths. This must stop!
The Social Media Campaign on Tobacco Control in Nigeria invites everyone to sign its petition to encourage the Honourable Minister of Health in his Commitment to pass comprehensive tobacco control legislation in Nigeria.