By Zayamu Hassan
The Federal Government of Nigeria said 29,472 deaths being recorded in Nigeria annually were attributable to smoking related cases, in the latest research finding published this year by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed this while speaking at a media briefing to mark the year 2021 World No Tobacco day in Abuja on Monday.
He further revealed that Tobacco Atlas of 2018 reports estimates of more than 16,100 deaths from tobacco-related diseases every year.
“In Nigeria, findings from the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) show that, 4.5 million (5.6%) Nigerians 15 years and older currently use tobacco products of which 3.1 million (3.9%) are smokers.
“The GATS result further shows that 45.4 percent of the smokers had attempted to quit in the past 12 months prior to the survey, of which 61.1 percent attempted to do so without any assistance while 15 percent tried counseling and 5.2 percent tried pharmacotherapy,” Ehanire said.
The minister also revealed that tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke is the leading preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
According to him, data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that there are over 1.3 billion tobacco users in the world, and that tobacco is in one way or another responsible for more than 8 million deaths each year.
“More than 7 million of which are as the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being indirectly exposed to second-hand smoke,” he added.
Dr Ehanire revealed that to tackle the tobacco menace, Nigeria has signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
“In furtherance of the WHO FCTC, Nigeria enacted the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.”
Speaking, the Country Representative of WHO, Dr Kazadi Mulombo, called for support with the tools and resources needed to successfully quit and to reduce the demand for tobacco.
He, however, vowed to continue to support Nigeria to meet its obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“Just also note that there’s a need for all of us to be alert to industry tactics as they attract new users and keep people using tobacco, even when they are trying to quit. Products such as electronic cigarettes and nicotine pouches are highly addictive and not recommended as strategies to reduce tobacco use,” he said.