‘8 million Nigerians risk death from smoking’

ABOUT eight million Nigerians are estimated to be at risk of dying from smoking by 2030, with smoking currently responsible for over six million deaths worldwide, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has warned.
CISLAC quoting statistics of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria’s Global Adults Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2013 at its workshop held in Ibadan on Monday, further noted the high consumption of tobacco in Nigeria at an annual prevalence rate of 47 per cent.
Key resource person at the workshop held for Civil Society Organisations in the South West, Tunde Salman, added that the high consumption of tobacco was evidenced by the high mortality and premature death from cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and other non-communicable diseases.
Speaking on, Salman bemoaned that the low implementation of the existing National Tobacco Control Act (2015), which restricted smoking in public places and prevented people from tobacco smoke resulted in increasing number of direct and secondary smokers.
He particularly expressed fear at the growing number of young people taking to smoking, calling for the promulgation of strong policies that dissuade such youths from starting and encouraging smokers to quit.
“Whether as direct, secondary smoker or as farmers, eight million people are estimated to be at risk of losing their lives due to smoking, especially in Nigeria. Smoking is reason behind increasing cases of cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. We need strong policies to dissuade youths from starting to smoke while encouraging smokers to quit, moreover, it may be the major cause of mortality, premature death and disability,” Salman said.
Among other recommendations was a call on government to raise taxes on tobacco companies thereby reducing ability of minors to purchase tobacco and real monitoring of tobacco prevention and usage policies.
Commenting on the subject matter, Mr Iskil Yusuf, prayed that state governments domesticate and enforce the National Act prohibiting smoking, noting that the cost of rehabilitating tobacco smokers was high.
In other comments, Austin Erameh, noted that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smokers had about 30 per cent higher risk of many heart diseases, praying for the implementation of smoking regulation laws to save Nigerians.

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