The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has revealed that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is one of the main preventable risk factors for noncommunicable diseases.
The Minister made this known on Monday in Abuja during a press briefing to mark “World No Tobacco Day” 2021 with the theme “Commit to quitting”.
According to him, some of the diseases are hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Ehanire noted that the goal for the day was to advocate for strong smoking cessation guidelines and programs.
He cited data from the World Health Organization as saying:
“There are over 1.3 billion smokers in the world, and this tobacco is one way or another responsible for over eight million deaths each year.
“More than seven million of them are also due to direct tobacco use, while about 1.2 million are due to indirect exposure of non-smokers to second-hand smoke.”
Ehanire added that the results of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2012 showed that 5.6% of Nigerians, aged 15 and over, currently use tobacco products, of which 3.9% are tobacco products. smokers.
“The GATS result further shows that 45.4 percent of smokers had attempted to quit in the 12 months prior to the survey, of which 61.1 percent attempted to quit without any assistance.
“In addition, 15% have tried counseling and 5.2% have tried drug therapy.
“The number of tobacco-related deaths is high in Nigeria, as the 2018 Tobacco Atlas report assesses more than 16,100 deaths from tobacco-related illnesses each year.
The minister said another research published in 2021 by the Center for the Study of the Economies of Africa showed 29,472 deaths in Nigeria were attributable to smoking.
To tackle the threat of tobacco, according to Ehanire, Nigeria signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Consequently, in accordance with the WHO Framework Convention, Nigeria enacted the National Tobacco Control Law of 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.
He then emphasised a term collectively known as MPOWER, which according to him, can offer support in tobacco control measures.
The MPOWER acronym is summarised thus:
“M = Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; P = Protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke; O = Offer help to quit smoking through smoking cessation services. W = warn people about the dangers of smoking; E = Enforce the total ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and R = Increase excise duties on tobacco products. ”
According to him, the ministry, in collaboration with the WHO and the Nigeria Tobacco Alliance (NTCA), will carry out certain activities to help solve the tobacco-related problems.
He listed them as a virtual smoking cessation webinar and set up a toll-free smoking cessation call center within the ministry to provide smoking cessation services.
He said he would also provide support to five states: Kano, Ogun, Imo, Edo and Bayelsa to organize “World No Tobacco Day”.
“Beyond cessation services, Nigeria will begin, from June 23, the implementation of illustrated health warning messages and tobacco product packaging to replace age-old health warning texts,” he noted.