The World Health Organisation has called on all its member states including Nigeria, to increase taxes on cigarettes to discourage people from tobacco consumption.
Also, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for synergy and partnerships among relevant stakeholders to check tobacco consumption and reduce its health and other associated risks, especially cardiovascular diseases.
The WHO said this in a statement in commemoration of the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, a day set aside to highlight the dangers associated with using tobacco, and to press for policies to reduce tobacco use.
The statement read in part, “World No Tobacco Day is a chance for governments and the public to take firm action. Today, I call upon member states to implement measures which will strengthen tobacco control as found in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“Effective measures to reduce tobacco demand which can be accomplished in a short time and at reasonable cost include increasing tobacco taxes and prices, which will save lives as well as generate money for governments.
“Other steps include creating completely smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places, instituting hard-hitting warnings and graphic pictures about the dangers of smoking on cigarette packaging, and banning tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship.”
Stressing the importance of this year’s theme, tagged, ‘Tobacco and heart disease,’ which focuses on tobacco use as a key risk factor for developing heart and related diseases, including stroke, the WHO said the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest health threats in the world.
The organisation said “tobacco kills more than seven million people each year.”
It added, “Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke contribute to about 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths. There is no safe level for people, particularly children, women and workers, who have to be in the same room as smokers.
“In the African Region, about 146, 000 adults aged 30 years and above die every year from tobacco-related diseases. When tobacco users die prematurely in their productive years, families lose loved ones and income, and economic development is negatively affected.”
Also, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for synergy and partnerships among relevant stakeholders to check tobacco consumption and reduce the health and other associated risks, especially cardiovascular diseases.
Obaseki, in his goodwill message to commemorate the 2018 World No Tobacco Day proposed that collaborations should be built among health workers, civil society organisations and relevant Non-Governmental Organisations to raise awareness and sensitise the people to the dangers of tobacco consumption.
The governor said, “Much as tobacco companies are in legitimate business and have adopted health messaging to call attention to the associated risks of use of their products, as a government, we want to ensure that the people are better served with information on the cardiovascular dangers associated with its usage. Efforts should be made to sensitise people to the dangers of second-hand smoking, which also exposes people to similar dangers faced by active smokers.”
He said the state government was pursing health policies such as the state-wide health insurance scheme, increasing the number of primary health care centres and improving the investment climate to attract investors, including private health care firms.
He said that this year’s theme for the day, ‘Tobacco and Heart Disease,’ provided a platform to interrogate the implications of tobacco use and cardiovascular conditions, noting that stakeholders were being mobilised to spread the word on the dangers of tobacco consumption and the imperative to reduce its use.
Despite the known harms of tobacco to heart health and the availability of solutions to reduce related death and disease, knowledge among large sections of the public that tobacco is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease is low.” (Punch)