The Federal Ministry of Health has reaffirmed the commitment of Federal Government towards tackling Tobacco usage in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, made this statement during the Commemoration of 2019 World No Tobacco day with Theme: Tobacco and Lung Health, held in Abuja, today.
Mr. Abdullahi said that ‘’this year’s commemoration further seeks to raise awareness and bring all relevant stakeholders on board to reinforce the Federal Ministry of Health efforts in the promotion of lung health with the view to achieving overall health and well – being of Nigerians citizens’’
He further said that ‘’ Although tobacco is a legitimate product, however its use in any form or disguise including exposure to second hand tobacco smoke is very hazardous as it has no permissible safe limit’’
He added that ‘’ laboratory analysis shows that tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals of which at least 250 are proven to be harmful and more 69 are known to cause cancer’’
He informed that ‘’ according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, there are over 1.1 billion adult smokers worldwide and at least 367 million persons use smokeless tobacco products. Of these ,8 million die annually through the effect of tobacco of which over 6 million are direct use and about 890,000 by exposure to second – hand smoke’’
The Perm. Sec. pointed out that ‘’ at least 50% of lifetime tobacco smokers will die before they reach 70 years of age, and the average loss of life from smoking is a full decade of life (Jha et al. 2015)’’
He emphasised that ‘’ it behoves on all of us to do all we can to prevent tobacco – related lung disease. Globally, lung cancer, which is the deadliest cancer, kills 1.76 million people each year of which approximately 37,748 of the lung cancer deaths occur in Africa’’, he added.
To this end, Mr. Abdullahi said that ‘’ FMOH is coordinating all national tobacco control activities. The efforts had led to the ratification of the WHO Framework convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005.
He added that the National Tobacco Control Committee (NATOCC), drafted and vetted by the Ministry and submitted to the National Assembly through the Federal Executive Council (FEC), has finally been approved on the 28th of May in line with section 39 of the act.
He stressed that ‘’ the Ministry is Mobilizing resources for a national awareness creation and capacity building; we are not unaware of the urgent need to assist those already using tobacco products’’
In her welcome address, the Director, Public Health, FMOH, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, noted that ‘’ FMOH convened Stakeholders meeting to develop draft National Tobacco Control Communication Plan and the National Tobacco Control Committee (NATOCC) also met to continue with its work as stipulated in the National Tobacco Control Act,2015’’.
She further said that ‘’ next week Monday, June 3, 2019, the Ministry in collaboration with Stakeholders will embark on public sensitization campaign in Wuse General Market in FCT’’
Speaking during the event, the WHO officer –in- Charge, Dr. Peter Clement said that Nigeria has the National Tobacco Act and the recent approval by the National Assembly to fully implement the Act were concrete steps to address tobacco use in Nigeria.
He said Nigeria has high number of young people, “these are the future leaders of this country, so we need to protect them. We can protect them from use of tobacco or else we spent a lot of money in treatment.”
In his remark the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Abubakar Adamu represented by Assistant Inspector General; Olufunmilayo Modupe Obembe pledged to work with National Tobacco Control Committee to ensure that Nigeria became Tobacco Free society.
He said “As you are aware the Nigeria Police is major stakeholders in this regard and highly committed to partnering with other stakeholders at all times”
Also speaking, the Director General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Babatunde Irukera, commended the Federal Ministry of Health for providing leadership in fight against Tobacco usage in Nigeria.
He called on all stakeholders to redouble their commitment to ensure that Nigeria became Tobacco Free Country.